Karen Monda began her journey as a law enforcement spouse late in her husband’s career, but at his most critical time of need. Through two suicide attempts, treatment, and recovery, Karen has seen firsthand the effects of a loved one’s battle with depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress, as well as the positive outcomes that can be achieved when mental health and wellness are made a priority. In 2018, she and her husband, Doug Monda, founded the nonprofit Survive First to provide first responders the resources they need to focus on their own mental health and wellness, and together, they have used their story to save lives.
Karen holds a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Central Florida and worked 22 years in the public education system before coming on board with The Quell Foundation. Leading up to the merger of Survive First and The Quell Foundation, Karen led Survive First as Executive Director, using her personal experience and passion to drive the mission forward by helping first responders and their spouses recognize the signs and symptoms of deteriorating mental health so that they can best support each other’s needs.
Her motto, “Together we make a difference. Together we save lives.”, rings true in every sense with the First Responder Resilience Project and Survive First coming together to end the stigma that is associated with mental health in the first responder community.
Believing that education is a key component to overall wellness in first responder families, Karen has been honored to share her story and speak about marriage and relationships in the responder community at departments, agencies, and conferences. Through education, compassion, and dedication to our first responder families, Karen strives to normalize the conversation about mental health and wellness amongst our nation’s finest.