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Responders 1st Call offers therapeutic protocols for police, fire and EMS departments

PALM BEACH, Fla. — Responders 1st Call offers four immediate and long- term trauma treatment protocols to serve first responders, including individual police, fire, EMT, emergency room, dispatch personnel, and the departments which employ them. Each intervention provides an evidence-based therapeutic method for healing the acute stress first responders suffer daily.

“American society has not developed and implemented enough clinical interventions to address the mental health impact of emergency response work. Our treatments work synergistically to address the symptomology of individual and organizational dysfunction. Our system can improve the high-pressure culture of emergency response by enhancing morale and boosting retention and recruitment. Responders help us in our hour of need; it’s our turn to start saving the lifesavers!” said Ann Hawkins, Ph.D., CEO of Responders 1st Call.

Trauma Helpline

First responders exposed to overwhelming trauma call the 24/7/365 Trauma Helpline from the field for immediate counseling with licensed, trauma-sensitive experts trained in first responder counseling. Processing the momentary stress of a shocking experience can reduce the likelihood of psychological repression and the delayed response symptoms of negative moods and self- harming behaviors such as addiction and suicidality.

“We clearly understand the emotional validity of first responders’ trauma, and they deserve a private, informal space to talk about it. This confidential, personalized self-care helpline helps them process an incident on-site, and begin healing the trauma immediately in critical moments of need,” Hawkins continued.

Virtual EMDR

Individual first responders can also benefit from confidential, self-directed, and unlimited online sessions using Virtual EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) treatment.

Sessions are performed in the privacy of first responders’ homes or other safe places, and no clinician is required. EMDR therapy uses the human brain’s neuroplastic healing ability to replace obsessive emotional memories with realistic thinking about a previous experience.

EMDR reduces symptoms of acute stress disorder, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and is endorsed by the Veterans Administration, United States Department of Defense, and the American Psychiatric Association.

Family Mental Health Consultations

Individual responder family members, including children with parental or guardian approval, can place 24/7/365 calls to speak with behavioral health clinicians. Couples or entire families can schedule video consultations to address anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and domestic conflicts, which interfere with the quality of daily life. Calls and video consultations are offered on an unlimited basis. Family mental health clinicians have trauma sensitivity training and, when appropriate, make referrals to a responder’s Employee Assistance Program or other emotional health resources.

Behavioral Risk Assessment

State and local agencies responsible for funding first responder departments can use the short, HIPAA-secure Behavioral Risk Assessment to create individual and departmental profiles of potential mental health problems. The assessment was developed in 2010 by psychologists, psychiatrists, medical doctors, and researchers.

The assessment uses 27 questions to measure symptoms of anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance misuse, functional impairment, and suicidal tendency. These issues are likely to directly affect morale, job performance, self-care, absenteeism, and professional satisfaction and have a long-term negative impact on discipline, regulatory compliance, and teamwork. Departments receive the aggregated data without personal identity disclosures to identify prioritized systemic need issues and initiate interventions to maximize team welfare. Individual first responders may also test and receive confidential results.

About Responders 1st Call
Responders 1st Call is dedicated to saving the lifesavers and their families in all American emergency service professions. Learn more at