Unstoppable Healing proudly sponsors the Healing Village at SYF2019
by Les Finkel

The Gives Back Program extends into a whole new platform of hands-on healing and trauma relief for first responders, fire and police. Our Seva!

If you’ve been to Sedona Yoga Festival in previous years, you know Founder and co-creator Marc Titus. A former Wildland Firefighter and Aviation Manager on SW Area Type 1 Incident Management Team 2 who he-himself crashed hard after being among the first rescuers to witness the aftermath of possibly the worst non-military helicopter crash in U.S. history. A broken hero who’s world went dark. Pitch black, indeed. His soul found salvation on the yoga mat, fighting to survive, one sobbing breath at a time.

First responders live every day knowing that their day may end in their untimely death or horrific debilitation, paralysis or disfigurement. But being a first responder survivor is a life-long critical emotional sentence – if not you, then maybe your buddy who was watching your back.

First Responder Suicides Is A Fact


Sadly, for those in first responder roles, suicide is nothing new. In fact, the Journal of Emergency Medical Services reports in a 2015 survey of more than 4,000 first responders, that 37% had contemplated suicide and almost 7% had attempted it. That is more than 10 times the rate of the general population.

Nevertheless, the Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance (FFBHA) says that despite that staggering number, they estimate only 40% of firefighter suicides are voluntarily reported. Another study concluded that at least 143 firefighters had taken their own lives in 2015, while far fewer had died in the line of duty. This same report also highlighted that firefighters commit suicide at a higher rate than even their police officer peers. And if the FFBHA is correct, that means more than twice the number died at their own hand than in the line of duty.At the time of publication, FFBHA had confirmed 43 firefighter suicides in 2018.1

Law Enforcement

The estimated number of law enforcement officers who died by suicide outnumbered those who died in the line of duty for the third straight year in 2018, a newly released study shows. According to the organization, at least 159 officers took their own lives in 2018 — the same number of suicide fatalities it tracked in 2017 and 19 more than in 2016.

Military Veterans

Today the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released findings from its most recent analysis of Veteran suicide data for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. This report yields several important insights:

  • Suicide rates increased for both Veterans and non-Veterans, underscoring the fact that suicide is a national public health concern that affects people everywhere.
  • The average number of Veterans who died by suicide each day remained unchanged at 20.
  • The suicide rate increased faster among Veterans who had not recently used Veterans Health Administration health care than among those who had.

The report, known as “VA National Suicide Data Report 2005–2015,” is available at https://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/suicide_prevention/Suicide-Prevention-Data.asp.

The analysis is part of VA’s ongoing examination of more than 55 million civilian and Veteran death records that is being used to evaluate and improve VA’s Suicide Prevention Program.

Data from this report were obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s National Death Index and then linked to both VA and Department of Defense (DoD) data.3

Meditate on that for a moment.

For the most part, you and I are shown the romantic side of being a firefighter, police officer, soldier or emergency medical responder. We all take it for granted that when we call 911 brave folks appear out of nowhere seemingly miraculously. Maybe, one day you too may need to make that 911-call and a woman or a man will bravely show up to save your life, pull you out of a car wreck or a burning home. Did you ever really stop to think what their day may have been like?

Let’s Come Back to Reality

The only reason we all come together is that one man – with the infinite and incredibly wise support of his soul mate wife Heather Titus – kept fighting to survive, day by day.

That’s the only reason you and I are here. Marc and Heather’s tenacity allows us to celebrate life, and what a beautiful and sacred thing this is!

What if we pay it forward?

Stephen Lam | Reuters

What if today we all pull together and rescue a rescuer?

That’s the desire out of which the Healing Village was born. Let’s not just celebrate Yoga at the Sedona Yoga Festival. Let’s all celebrate the heroes too!

Hi, my name is Leslie Finkel, and I’m so proud to say that Marc is not only my friend but my brother. We are bonded by a code of honor. While I have not been a first responder myself, I have served first responders and my community most of my adult life at the Phoenix Police Department where I served in IT for almost 30 years. Where I kept the computer systems of law enforcement and public safety running 24×7.

Protecting the protectors was and will always be my mission.

Marc and I envisioned a white tent village where first responders can come to heal themselves, to get out of the fight and fight response with more than just a pat on the back and a thank you. Let’s help them to breathe more easily. To laugh freely and to find a community that shows them first hand that we care about them. And we made it happen.

We have countless helpers and volunteers.

But we really need your help to spread the word. If you know local First Responders, Military and Emergency Medical Personnel please spread the word!

If you have any TV, PR or media connections, help us spread the word.

Please stop by at the Healing Village.  I look forward to seeing you there!

Oh, and if you want to receive trauma and emotional healing but you’re not a first responder, don’t worry! We got you. I’ve designed Unstoppable Healing session at SYF just for you at a  special low cost.

All you need to do is find me at the Healing Village and sign up for a session at my Unstoppable Healing tent.


Leslie Finkel

Leslie Finkel is on a mission to free people from their traumas, pains, and everyday stresses so that they can thrive in their body and enjoy their life to the fullest. Leslie is especially dedicated to assist military veterans, and police, fire, and emergency first responders who deal with extreme daily stresses and responsibilities. Using an ancient Taoist healing science called Chi Nei Tsang, Leslie use gentle but direct touch to your abdomen to guide you to process and release heavy and debilitating emotions,  untangle knots in your nerves and tissues and promote wellness and longevity. He’s helped hundreds of people of all ages, from all walks of life.

Jane Tyska | Digital First Media | Getty Images

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