Helpful Resources for First Responders and Their Families
I Love a Cop Discussion Guide
Meeting with other law enforcement family members to discuss I Love a Cop is a great way to build support and reduce isolation. The following questions are suggested prompts to stimulate group discussion, promote learning, and enhance connection between participants so they may become resources for each other. It is not necessary to use each one. Some questions touch on personal issues and require self-disclosure. For this reason, I recommend discussion groups be facilitated by a professional counselor. If no counselor is available, agreeing to the following ground rules will help create an atmosphere of safety and comfort for all participants.
Discussion guide (PDF)
The First Responders Support Network
The First Responders Support Network (FRSN) sponsors two six-day retreats in Angwin, California: The West Coast Post Trauma Retreat (WCPR), a peer driven, clinically guided retreat for first responders with post-traumatic stress injuries, and The Spouses and Significant Others and Spouses (SOS) retreat. I volunteer here several times a year, so I know firsthand how much these programs help. Go to this website for links to both programs, plus information on post-traumatic stress injuries for first responders, where to find a culturally competent clinician who knows first responders, info re POST approved peer support training, and much more.
The Badge of Life
Suicide prevention for cops. Lots of free resources, educational material and links.
A 24/7 confidential crisis referral service for public safety employees including law enforcement, first responders, fire service, corrections, and civilian support staff.
Safe Call Now
Safe Call Now is a CONFIDENTIAL, comprehensive, 24-hour crisis referral service for all public safety employees, all emergency services personnel and their family members nationwide
National Police Wives Association
National Police Wives Association (NPWA) is a charitable organization dedicated to supporting law enforcement spouses and families and providing resources to those new to the law enforcement community, including an online forum comprised of over 700 women worldwide. They are dedicated to helping one another face the daily struggles of being in a law enforcement relationship.
Crisis intervention, safety planning, and referrals available 24/7.
National Domestic Violence Association
If you are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1.
For anonymous, confidential help, 24/7, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).
(Shift: Supporting Heroes in Mental Health Foundational Training) provides support and training nationwide for Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Investigators. My most recent mystery, The Fifth Reflection, is about an ICAC investigator and the toll this difficult assignment takes on him and his family. I have attended a SHIFT training and recommend it highly.
Blue H.E.L.P. (Honor, Educate, Lead, Prevent)
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. In addition to many services and events, Blue H.E.L.P. offers a searchable database dedicated to finding emotional, financial, and spiritual assistance for first responders. It is free and easy to use, and completely confidential.
First Responders and Suicide: A Guidebook
“Addressing Suicide among First Responders: How Colleagues, Friends and Family Can Help:” a guidebook for colleagues, friends and families of first responders developed by the counseling staff at Northwestern University’s Family Institute.
Addiction & Recovery for First Responders
A resource for emergency service personnel who struggle with substance abuse. Includes self-assessments, advice about seeking help and navigating recovery. Prochniak, D.: (2019)
Increasing Resiliency in Police and Emergency Personnel: Strengthening Your Mental Armor
Conn, Stephanie M. (2018), New York: Routledge