Helpful Resources for First Responders
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 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
The Badge of Life’s mission is to educate and train law enforcement about mental health and suicide prevention. Their website offers resources and a list of suicide hotlines.
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
Social Work License Map: Mental Health Resources to Support First Responders
Social workers are on the frontlines along with other first responders. This website is a good source of resources and organizations available to help first responders and those close to them recognize and manage their emotional wellbeing and address their mental health care.
Shift: Supporting Heroes in Mental Health Foundational Training provides support and training nationwide for Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Investigators. My 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 lost to suicide, assist officers in their search for healing, and 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.
A searchable database dedicated to finding emotional, financial, and spiritual assistance for first responders. It is free, easy to use and confidential.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
24/7 free, confidential support for people in distress. 800.273.8255. Crisis Text Line provides free, 24/7 crisis support by text. Text HELLO to 741741 to be connected to a trained counselor.
IAFF Recovery Center Crisis Line
International Association of Firefighters provides a 24/7 crisis line for firefighters and EMTs — (833) 447-0606.
Share the Load Program
Provides access to critical resources and information to help first responders and their families manage and overcome personal and work-related problems. Focus on firefighters and EMTs.
Help for Addiction
Drug and alcohol abuse among first responders is often an overlooked issue. The unique challenges that first responders face on a daily basis contribute to problems with mental health and substance abuse that can be treated with several different programs.
Wellness Provider Vetting Guide
Guide to vetting wellness programs, individual practitioners, inpatient treatment programs and hotlines developed by the Fraternal Order of Police.
Courageous Heart Training for Law Enforcement (Stanford Univ.)
Between Black and Blue
Complexity within the Black Law Enforcement community. A video produced by the National Law Enforcement Memorial and Museum:
Do Women in Blue Police Differently than Male Officers?
A documentary produced by PBS/Independent Lens series:
911der Women, Inc
A nonprofit organization raising money to provide mental health resources, training, outreach, research and other programing to 911 dispatchers who are the public safety lifeline for those in need of help.Their goal is to strengthen and support women in the telecommunication industry. Check out their their website for their blog, a quarterly series of trainings, and more.
Helpful Resources for First Responder Families
Proud Police Wife
An excellent blog, podcast offering a broad range of topics and resources.
Supporting Law Enforcement Families in Understanding Trauma
A free document from the International Association of Chiefs of Police that includes advice to families and resources.
Concerns of Police Survivors
Helping survivors and co-workers affected by line-of-duty-deaths.
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).
National Police Wives Association
National Police Wives Association (NPWA) is a charitable organization dedicated to supporting law enforcement spouses and families by 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.
Careers in Police and Public Safety Psychology
The Society for Police and Criminal Psychology
Offers a list of educational institutions, internships, continuing education and training opportunities.
Online program from Colorado State University in Military and Emergency Responder Psychology
Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement
A Guide for Officers and Their Families by Kevin Gilmartin addresses the dynamics that can quickly transform idealistic and committed law enforcement officers/employees into cynical, angry individuals who begin having difficulties in both the personal and professional aspects of their lives. A must read for everyone.
Stress into Strength: Resilience Routines for Warriors, Wimps, and Everyone in Between
Written by Nick Arnett, fire fighter chaplain, peer supporter and critical incident specialist. A wise, practical guide easy-to-read guide to recovering from first responder stress.
Increasing Resiliency in Police and Emergency Personnel: Strengthening Your Mental Armor
Filled with practical tips for officers, their families and their supervisors, the author is a clinician and former police officer.
Conn, Stephanie M. (2018), New York: Routledge
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)
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.
I Love a Cop Discussion Guide
Meeting with other law enforcement family member to discuss I Love a Cop is a great way to build support and reduce isolation. The discussion guide provides questions to stimulate group discussion, promote learning and enhance connection between participants so they may become resources for each other.