First H.E.L.P. and FirstNet®, Built with AT&T, have teamed up to provide first responders in communities throughout Illinois with world-class mental health training through First H.E.L.P.’s #ResponderReadiness Workshop Series.
During First H.E.L.P.’s 4-hour workshop, First Responders will explore the 3Ps of Responder Readiness: Performance, Persistence, and Prevention. Through small group discussions, participants will explore the impact that operational stress and trauma has on their careers and families and take a deep dive using scenario-based training to practice having difficult conversations about mental health and suicide prevention with friends, family members, and co- workers. First responders will practice resilience skills using what First H.E.L.P. refers to as the R.A.N.G.E. of Resilience.
“We can never full prevent first responders from facing the traumatic stress associated with their profession, but we can try to prepare them for operational stress injuries,” said Dr. Jeffrey McGill, First H.E.L.P.’s Co-Founder and CEO. “By providing awareness and practical tools, we can help first responders perform at their best throughout to their career, benefitting the responder, their family, their agency, and the community they serve.”
Since 2016, First H.E.L.P. has consistently tracked law enforcement suicides throughout the nation and in 2021, opened their efforts to include all first responders. The State of Illinois accounts for nearly 5% of the 997 suicides reported to First H.E.L.P since 2017 with two reported already in 2022. Upcoming trainings will take place in Buffalo Grove, McLean and Rockford.
AT&T is working to ease the burden for communities by providing high-quality training to Illinois first responders at no cost. FirstNet is the only nationwide, high-speed broadband communications platform dedicated to and purpose-built for America’s first responders and the extended public safety community. Shaped by the vision of Congress and the first responder community following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, FirstNet is built with AT&T in public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority, an independent agency within the federal government.
“AT&T’s commitment to our public safety community goes beyond our FirstNet network connectivity,” said Dr. Anna Courie, DPN, RN, PHNA-BC, Director, Responder Wellness, FirstNet Program at AT&T. “We are dedicated to working with First H.E.L.P. to bring mental health resources to first responders across the country—especially in rural areas with limited access. This program with First H.E.L.P. will better equip first responders mentally and physically and help our public safety community stay safer.”
First H.E.L.P.’s #ResponderReadiness workshop series is a unique program that brings together all types of first responders in a cohesive training program where all participants develop skills built around a common set of principles. The goal for the first half of 2022 is to bring the #ResponderReadiness workshop to 400 first responders in the state.
“This training will provide important tools that are missing in first responder duty bags,” said Christy Lister, a First H.E.L.P. volunteer and co-host of the Beyond the 1st Response podcast. “It is a game changer and will help provide resiliency and normalize conversations about mental wellbeing.
The training program reinforces the strategic priorities established by the FirstNet Health and Wellness Coalition (FNHWC) to support first responders and their families. The mission of the FNHWC is to integrate responder, community, industry, and academic capabilities to support the health, wellness, and readiness of American first responders.
The two organizations hope to see this training reach as far into these rural communities as possible. While the training is open to federal, state, and large municipal responders, priority will go to smaller communities.
Upcoming trainings in Illinois include:
- March 29 – McLean, IL
6:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Mt. Hope-Funks Grove Fire Protection District
- April 5 – Rockford, IL
8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Cherry Valley Fire Protection District
If your community wants to host a #ResponderReadiness training at no cost, submit a hosting application on the First H.E.L.P. website: 1sthelp.org/training/hosting
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