NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) — One local police officer is hoping to end the stigma around mental health.
The goal of SilentHero is to offer a platform to emergency first responders to help one another with the weight their positions can carry.
“I know from the stigma, from 25 years in law enforcement, that this is an opportunity for fellow emergency workers to just have a peer to peer release,” said Richard Chiarello, former police officer. “There are certain things in this job that nobody should ever have to see or hear.”
Montoney was inspired by the struggles of his grandfather, a Vietnam veteran and police officer.
“The stories he would tell me about him and his friends, the things they went through and the help they would get, it just kind of broke my heart a little,” Montoney said. “Because when they got help, they would be set on desk duty or they got rid of them.”
Montoney founded SilentHero with his wife Natalie and cofounder Kevin Northcutt. Its allows first responders to make a free account, log on, pick their specific profession, and gain access to an anonymous, open forum.
The service is meant for veterans, active military, police, nurses, and other law enforcement. There is also an option for family support.
The ultimate goal of SilentHero is to prevent first responder suicide by giving them a social platform to connect with fellow first responders. The feeds will be vetted by moderators who are retired members of the different disciplines.