FOX31 and Ashley Michels cover the stressors and mental health needs of emergency responders and how ResponderStrong is addressing them. Together, we are stronger!
FOX31 visited the National Mental Health Innovation Center with ResponderStrong members to experience the potential of Virtual Reality to change the way we support mental health.
Thank you Colorado Matters and Colorado Public Radio for inviting ResponderStrong to your show!
Our most recent project update and summary. Check out what we are doing!
The next ResponderStrong quarterly meeting will be February 16 from 9-noon at South Metro Fire Rescue Headquarters, 9195 E. Mineral Ave, Centennial, CO 80112. All are welcome! Virtual Reality demos will be available for those who wish to explore the potential therapeutic and training uses of this technology.
The next ResponderStrong quarterly meeting is November 17 from 9-noon at South Metro Fire Rescue Headquarters, 9195 E. Mineral Ave, Centennial, CO 80112. All are welcome! The draft results of the survey will be reviewed before the final report is published in early December.
Emergency responders across Colorado face many similar occupational challenges and stressors. Negative impacts from these occupational exposures are becoming more apparent in the form of depression, substance abuse, relationship struggles, PTSD, and suicide. With increasing awareness, individual departments across the state are searching for mental wellness supports and solutions using very limited resources. We all work in team-based environments – isn’t it ironic that we’ve been trying to handle such a significant issue in relative isolation? The ResponderStrong™ organization, created in 2016, may have the solution. ResponderStrong consists of representatives from more than 40 emergency responder agencies across Colorado working in collaboration with the National Behavioral Health Innovation Center at CU Anschutz in a privately-funded, grassroots effort whose ranks are steadily growing. They are working to create a broad platform for mental wellness that can serve emergency responders across Colorado. They are not asking for financial support from emergency response agencies. They are asking for input, expertise, guidance, and some leg work. This project has tremendous potential to better serve our population and through doing so, even better serve our communities. To better inform the program development, the group has created an electronic survey. In May, they will send the survey out to the heads of all law enforcement (police, sheriff, and state patrol), fire (volunteer, career, and combo), EMS, and dispatch agencies in Colorado, seeking one response from each agency. The survey has been designed to obtain basic information regarding what mental wellness resources are already available, what is working and what is not, and to identify what needs are not being adequately addressed across the state. Additional objectives of the survey include establishing contacts at each agency, recruiting new members, and providing data to shape the development of the program. Please watch for this survey and have whomever is most familiar with your agency’s current mental wellness resources complete it. Your input is important- please take the time to complete the survey and outline your needs!