Frances Moody, The Park Record
The Speedy Foundation works to prevent suicides
Olympic aerial skier Jeret “Speedy” Peterson was a passionate person.
Even though he accomplished much during the 29 years he lived, Peterson sometimes let his strong emotions manifest in negative ways. Stuck in the darkness of depression, the outgoing athlete took his own life in Park City in 2011.
The Speedy Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to preventing suicide, was named after and created for Peterson, who participated in three Olympics, won a FIS world title and set a world record score for aerial skiing.
“The Speedy Foundation was created in the wake of a much-needed conversation that one person was trying to have,” said Shannon Decker, the organization’s executive director. “After his death, we realized that the conversation Speedy was trying to have was rooted in stigma and misinformation.”
Based in Boise, Idaho, and in Park City, the nonprofit raises money to support mental health education. It also uses funds to conduct outreach regarding mental health advocacy.
“The Speedy Foundation acts as an advocate and educational center on topics of mental illness, adverse childhood experiences, toxic stress and trauma,” Decker said. “These are topics that impact all communities around the world.
Decker said the main goal of the foundation is to let those in situations similar to Speedy’s know it’s OK to talk about depression and mental illness.
“There needed to be a voice out there saying, ‘it’s OK to talk about the things that are hard to talk about,’” Decker said. “It’s OK to talk about depression, anxiety, substance use, abuse, neglect, daily struggles, disappointment, challenging transitions, etc.”
The Speedy Foundation works with the Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition and the Summit County Suicide Prevention Coalition to continue the conversation Speedy started.
Decker said the funds it receives from Live PC Give PC will go to Mental Health First Aid and QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) training programs in the Park City area.
“Once we honestly confront the problem, we can begin to learn and practice resilience strategies and share hope in the lives of those around us.”
More facts on the foundation can be found at http://www.thespeedyfoundation.org. Live PC Give PC donations to the organization can be made at livepcgivepc.razoo.com.