Operation H.E.A.R.T (Helping Emergency Responders Achieve Resiliency with Training)
Given the unique job-related stresses and repeated exposures to trauma, first responders are at a high risk of developing PTSD/PTSI, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and behaviors, sleep disorders, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. It is critical that first responders have access to the resources, education, and support needed to protect their wellbeing, so they can continue to protect us. The FRWP has created a free program to combat the unaddressed trauma, illness, and injuries by improving the overall wellness of our first responders, with the core belief that cost and anonymity should not be a barrier.
Supporting first responder mental health starts with fighting stigma
The role of a first responder is to help others. Strength, bravery, and grit are highly valued — and employees often take on a “whatever it takes” mentality. This perpetuates stigma around mental health conditions — based on the misconception that they’re a sign of weakness. Conversations about mental health are often swept under the rug or never stated. But the high rates of depression, PTSD, substance use disorder, and suicide make it clear that first responder mental health needs to be addressed early and often.