The unique set of stressors encountered on the job by first responders can create mental health challenges for them and their families. To address this reality, first responders must learn how to take care of their mental health and they need a support network tailored to their individual requirements.
3 agencies' programs have recently been updated with new resources to help first responders take care of their mental health and support the mental health of their families and coworkers, including:
National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC)
The NVFC has several new offerings on mental health in the fire and emergency services, including:
- Addressing Substance Abuse, PTSD, and Other Concerns in the Fire Service
- Creating a Psychologically Healthy Fire Department
- For Those Who Love a First Responder
- Traumatic Events: Building Resiliency and Support Systems in the Emergency Services
Many additional NVFC resources for fire and EMS providers' mental health, such as videos, guides and courses are available online at NVFC Resources.
First Responders Children's Foundation (FRCF)
The FRCF has launched a new resiliency program for children of first responders. The program provides expert therapy to children of first responders—at no cost to families—to help children manage, process and deal with a range of emotional challenges specific to their unique needs. This program will initially provide support in 5 states (California, Florida, New York, Tennessee and Texas) with plans to expand its reach as the program grows.
National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT)
The NAEMT has released the Mental Health Resilience Officer (MHRO) course to prepare EMS personnel to serve as their agency's MHRO. This course is eligible for 6 hours of continuing education units through the Commission on Accreditation for Prehospital Continuing Education.
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: Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times