News, Resiliency

New Partnership to Combat Mental Health Crisis in First Responders

Colin Chenault, left, of the Cedar Hill Police Department and Jerry Pena, from Cedar Hill Fire, serve as two of the Peer Directors for the new program. (Photo Business Wire)

DALLAS — Lifeologie, a multi-specialty counseling franchise, today announced a new partnership with Readiness Group, LLC. This partnership will provide quality mental health care to first responders from the nine cities involved in the First Responder Resiliency Pilot Program.

“We are excited to be partnering with Readiness Group to address our shared passion – the growing mental health crisis among first responders,”says Melanie Wells, LPC, LMFT, founder and chief executive officer of Lifeologie.“Lifeologie’s trauma team, led by our senior trauma clinician Chris Jones, LPC-S, provides exceptional mental health care using innovative evidence-based techniques such as EMDR and psychotherapeutic yoga.”

Related: Rural First Responder Access to Mental Health Care: A National Crisis

This partnership came to life when Cedar Hill’s first responders saw an overwhelming need for mental health education and mental health care services in their industry. That’s when the city of Cedar Hill reached out to Readiness Group to co-write the First Responder Mental Health Resiliency Program Grant, a $1 millionfund dedicated to making quality mental health care services accessible to first responders forCedar Hill, DeSoto, Duncanville, Grand Prairie, Lancaster, Mansfield, Midlothian, Red Oak and Waxahachie.

TheFirst Responder Resiliency Pilot Programwill help these nine DFW cities combat today’s mental health crisis in the first responders community. Police, fire and dispatch personnel are often vicariously traumatized by the criminal acts they face every day, which can lead to overwhelming feelings of PTSD and anxiety. These diagnoses often go untreated, with first responder suicides beginning to outnumber line of duty deaths.

Related: The Culture of Mental Health in Fire and EMS

“Readiness Group and the participating cities of the First Responder Resiliency Program are thrilled that Lifeologie has come on board,” says Brenda Tillman, LPC-S, PhD, Owner at Readiness Group, LLC. “It’s great to know that our first responders will receive the highest-quality of care from counselors specifically trained in this unique culture and associated trauma.”

In addition to providing funding, this program will help resolve the disconnect between first responders and mental health clinicians since first responders themselves are involved and invested in the First Responder Resiliency Pilot Program. There is a large concern in the first responder community that mental health clinicians do not understand their culture. To ensure this program provides optimal specialized care, Readiness Group will train Lifeologie therapists on the culture of the first responder community.

The First Responder Resiliency Pilot Program has four key initiatives:

  • Educate community first responders on the science of trauma
  • Host a peer support network and regional critical incident response
  • Provide behavioral health and trauma response counseling services at all six Lifeologie DFW locations
  • Compile program data and participant responses to ensure long-term program effectiveness

If you or someone you know is a first responder in Cedar Hill, DeSoto, Duncanville, Grand Prairie, Lancaster, Mansfield, Midlothian, Red Oak or Waxahachie, visit https://www.responderresiliency.com to explore the benefits of professional mental health care.