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First Responder Wellness

Fire engine and two police cars at night with lights on

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First responders face an increased risk of experiencing behavioral health issues including mental illness and substance abuse disorders. Fear of being seen as weak or not up to the job of a first responder keeps many from seeking help. Responders can build their resilience by increasing awareness about risk factors and warning signs, talking with each other, and using healthy coping strategies.


Crisis Awareness

Provides first responder participants examples of physical and emotional signs that a co-worker, family member, friend or the employee themselves may be in crisis after a traumatic event. This course gives some possible signs and symptoms as well as techniques to help someone who may benefit from assistance. Issues discussed include; physical, cognitive and emotional responses to trauma, alcohol / drug issues, relationships, techniques and strategies for working through the effects of a traumatic incident.

"After the Call"

“After the Call” was created to provide commanders & administrators with ideas, concepts and techniques they might use to help themselves during a critical or traumatic incident. It’s important for officers to know that, just like the rest of their agency, they are having a normal reaction to an abnormal circumstance. It’s not only ok to ask for assistance, it will help ensure that they are able to provide the guidance and oversight to help their agency and personnel work through the aftermath to be stronger.


First responders focus on taking care of others, often at the expense of their own self-care. This course re-enforces the concepts of self-care and the importance for first responders in order to be able to better serve their agencies & communities.

QPR: Questions. Persuade. Refer.

There are very few incidents more devastating to an agency than the suicide of a member of that agency, sworn or civilian. In addition to many of the same effects as a line of duty or accidental death, the added issues of guilt, anger, helplessness only add to the traumatic effects felt by the surviving members of the agency. As a culture, first responders take on the unrealistic burden of being responsible for the actions of others or the first responders’ failure to anticipate those actions and provide answers and solutions.

The QPR awareness course provides tools and techniques to help first responders themselves, their co-workers or the public. QPR is applicable to first responders and civilians.

Retirement: Being a member of the Survivors' Club

Retirement can be a difficult transition for anyone. For First Responders, that transition can be even more so. This course talks about some of the changes first responders can expect, how to plan for these changes and minimize possible negative effects of becoming a civilian.


Ohio Department of Public Safety / Office or Criminal Justice Services


Ohio First Responders stand ready to protect, defend and provide life-saving services to the citizens of the State of Ohio, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  Often, this can put them at risk, both physically and mentally.  The Ohio Department of Public Safety / Office of Criminal Justice Services support all of Ohio’s 92,000+ Law Enforcement, Fire, EMS, Corrections and Dispatch personnel. As of July 1, 2021, Steven M. Click serves as the Director for the Ohio Office of First Responder Wellness.



Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services


OhioMHAS’ First Responder Liaison serves as a resource to first responders, their agencies, Ohio’s vast network of behavioral healthcare providers and the community at large and is available for trainings and information.


Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

800-662-4357 (HELP)

First responders face an increased risk of experiencing behavioral health issues including mental illnesses and substance use disorders. Fear of being seen as weak or not up to the job of a first responder keeps many from seeking help. Responders can build their resilience by increasing awareness about risk factors and warning signs, talking with each other, and using healthy coping strategies.


Criminal Justice Coordinating Center of Excellence


Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) programs across the country help direct persons with mental illness into treatment instead of inappropriate incarceration. The forty-hour training provides practical techniques for de-escalating crises. Officers learn to integrate their police training with some different approaches to a person they believe to have a mental disorder. Role playing is utilized to make the experience as close to reality as possible.


National Suicide Prevention Lifeline


We can all help prevent suicide. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.


Crisis Text Line

Text 741741

Text from anywhere in the USA to text with a trained Crisis Counselor.  Every texter is connected with a Crisis Counselor, a real-life human being trained to bring texters from a hot moment to a cool calm through active listening and collaborative problem solving. All of Crisis Text Line's Crisis Counselors are volunteers, donating their time to helping people in crisis.

Text HELP to 741741




The Ohio ASSIST program hosts three-day, Post Critical Incident Seminars (PCIS) for first responders and their families.  These seminars were developed in South Carolina in 2000 in a partnership with the FBI to help first responders cope with the aftermath of traumatic and critical incidents.  During the three days, participants are given the chance to talk about their incident, discuss addiction and relationship issues, learn about fear & cooping and meet with clinicians with public safety experience.  There is no charge to the participant or their agency and they are able to bring a support person at no charge.


The First Responders Bridge


Supports all active and retired First Responders and their families, loved ones, or caregivers who are experiencing, or have experienced, any traumatic or life-altering event. The Bridge relates personal growth and healthy relationships with a multi-faceted approach in a safe and confidential environment.


Critical Incident Response Service


The Critical Incident Stress Management program, known as CISM, a multi-component crisis intervention curriculum, includes Pre-Incident Education, On scene or near scene management, One-on-One intervention, Demobilization, Crisis Management Briefing, Defusing, Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD), Family Support, Community Crisis Response, Pastoral Crisis Intervention and Follow Up.


Ohio Association of Professional Fire Fighters


The OAPFF Peer Support Team guide members who are struggling to resources which may be helpful in the path toward gaining assistance.

  • The OAPFF Peer Support Team consists of approximately 30 firefighters from all 5 Ohio districts who have been trained in providing emotional and mental health support to our union brother and sister firefighters in the state of Ohio.  OAPFF Peer Supporters have all received the IAFF Peer Support Training.
  • The OAPFF Peer Support Team may provide assistance to both active and retired firefighters who may be experiencing behavioral health and/or addiction issues.
  • Peer Support Team Members act as a bridge to outside definitive behavioral health and/or addiction treatment.  Peer Support Members are knowledgeable in local, regional, and state mental health resources.
  • Research shows that firefighters are more likely to accept treatment recommendations and assistance from peers.


International Association of Fire Fighters Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Treatment and Recovery


A one-of-a-kind addiction treatment facility specializing in PTSD for IAFF members – and IAFF members only – who are struggling with addiction, PTSD other related behavioral health challenges to receive the help they need in taking the first steps toward recovery.


Cop Line


Is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to serving law enforcement officers and their families by providing 24/7 trained peer support for crisis intervention along with referrals to specifically skilled mental health professionals for follow up and continued assistance.


Blue H.E.L.P.

It is the mission of Blue H.E.L.P. to reduce mental health stigma through education, advocate for benefits for those suffering from post-traumatic stress, acknowledge the service and sacrifice of law enforcement officers we lost to suicide, assist officers in their search for healing, and to bring awareness to suicide and mental health issues.

Blue H.E.L.P also serves as a resource for information and statistics related to the suicides by law enforcement personnel.


Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.)


Each year, between 140 and 160 officers are killed in the line of duty and their families and co-workers are left to cope with the tragic loss.  C.O.P.S. provides resources to help them rebuild their shattered lives.  Today, C.O.P.S. membership is over 51,000 survivors.  Survivors include spouses, children, parents, siblings, significant others, and co-workers of officers who have died in the line of duty according to Federal government criteria.  C.O.P.S. knows that a survivor's level of distress is directly affected by the agency's response to the tragedy.  C.O.P.S., therefore, offers training and assistance to law enforcement agencies nationwide on how to respond to the tragic loss of a member of the law enforcement profession.  C.O.P.S. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.  C.O.P.S. programs and services are funded by grants and donations.


Ohio Preschool Expulsion Prevention


It is a resource to help any licensed preschools and child care providers in Ohio with preschool-age children whose behavior poses challenges in the preschool setting, putting them at risk for expulsion.


Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities


OACBHA is the trade association that represents the interests of Ohio’s Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health (ADAMH) Boards. ADAMH Boards serve as a resource to assist residents in finding affordable and quality alcohol, drug addiction, and mental health services within their communities. A Board directory can be accessed on OACBHA’s homepage, which includes contact information for Boards by county.


The University of Cincinnati Stress Center


The Stress Center at UC Health is dedicated to caring for families living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Our goal is to decrease the negative impact of PTSD and help local families resume a healthy life. We want to ensure families have access to the resources and support they need to cope after a traumatic event.

The center brings together clinicians at UC Health, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and the Cincinnati Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center to optimize the understanding and treatment of traumatic stress and the degree to which clinical activities are coordinated, evaluated and disseminated.

We understand that PTSD not only affects the diagnosed individual, but his/her entire family as well. That is why our goal is provide an individualized, comprehensive treatment approach to ensure the entire family receives the care needed to resume and maintain a healthy life.


Hope Meadows Foundation


Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Learning

The experiential approach of equine therapy requires participants to take an active role in how they use certain skills for those they protect; enhances better awareness while doing their job; teaches mindfulness and grounding techniques; and encourages taking care of themselves emotionally while on the job to prevent burnout. This one-of-a-kind program utilizes both the internationally recognized EAGALA modality and the Natural Lifemanship modality of trauma informed equine assisted therapy.

Options for First Responders include 4-6 hour day-long wellness programs for small groups or individual 60-minute psychotherapy services. Programs are offered at little cost to participants.

Registration for group programs: https://hopemeadowsoh.org/store/ols/products/police-officer-wellness
Call 216-232-3656 x500 to schedule an individual session.


988 National Suicide and Mental Health Crisis Line

There is hope and help. If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health or addiction related crisis that is non-life-threatening (thoughts of suicide, emotional distress, or substance use/addiction), call, chat or text 988 for free, 24/7, confidential support. If you or someone you know is in immediate, life-threatening danger, call 911.


Ohio School Safety Center


The Center is responsible for assisting local schools and law enforcement with preventing, preparing for, and responding to threats and acts of violence, including self-harm, through a holistic, solutions-based approach to improving school safety. The OSSC provides regional supports, training, technical assistance with violence prevention and grants, and a statewide anonymous reporting system. To find out more, view the OSSC website or call/email for more information.

Email OhioSchoolSafetyCenter@dps.ohio.gov or call (614) 644-2641


The Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation


The Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation champions, advocates and coordinates strategies to reduce the risk of suicide and supports efforts to assist those individuals, families and communities impacted by suicide. OSPF is a non-profit organization that works tirelessly to prevent one of our most preventable causes of death: suicide. OSPF’s work includes reducing the stigma of suicide, promoting evidence-based prevention strategies, and raising awareness about suicide’s relationship to mental illness, alcohol, drug abuse, and other issues.

OSPF’s community-based programs and best-practice resources are specifically designed to improve mental health across the state. Thanks to a combination of education, training, and support, we’re helping all of Ohio’s communities reduce the risk of suicide and lessen its effects on family, friends, and neighbors.

OSPF’s team is available to provide information and education, or to connect you to any of our programs, services, and resources. For more information, call 614-429-1528 or email support@ohiospf.org

Ohio Department of Insurance – Ohio Mental Health Insurance Assistance Office

The Ohio Mental Health Insurance Assistance Office is the state's official resource to help consumers, mental health advocates, behavioral health providers, employers, first responders and other stakeholders understand and navigate mental health and substance use disorder insurance so Ohioans get access to the treatment they need. We are an office of the Ohio Department of Insurance, the state's insurance regulator, and we work in partnership with RecoveryOhio, the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, the Ohio Department of Medicaid, the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, and the U.S. Department of Labor.

Call us!! 1-855-438-6442 (1-855-GET-MHIA)

Mental Health Insurance Assistance Office | Department of Insurance (ohio.gov)

Email: getmhia@insurance.ohio.gov

Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous helps people find local AA meetings and provides resources for alcohol addiction.


Rehabs.org provides info for people at any stage of their recovery journey, including resources/treatment, warning signs, talking to a family member, and definitions of different types of treatment.

Addictions.com is very similar to rehabs.org and provides general resources for a variety of addictions along with a local treatment center directory similar to how AA helps people find local AA Meetings.

Narcotics.com is very similar to AA and provides resources for a variety of narcotics addictions along with a local meeting directory for people looking to attend narcotics anonymous (NA) meetings.


Governor DeWine Awards $1.67 Million for First Responder Wellness