James Novello Shares the Top Online Resources for First Responders

All Clear Foundation

The All Clear Foundation is focused on helping first responders with every aspect of their lives. The organization offers finances, retirement, grants, scholarships, education, leadership, professional development, and work-life balance. The site also includes a large physical and mental health section, including substance abuse, anger management, burnout, depression, stress, anxiety, and trauma.

Code Green Campaign

Code Green Campaign is dedicated to improving wellness among first responders and reducing the barriers that stand between first responders and mental health treatment. This organization provides an extensive list of resources for first responders, including crisis resources that can be called upon 24/7. The organization also maintains state-by-state listings of resources as well as resources for inpatient treatment centers. Online resources are listed, as are resources available in Canada and internationally.

Disaster Responder Assets Network

This organization provides in-person support in Northern California and provides online resources for all first responders. In-person services include psychological support, insurance claim assistance, housing assistance, and a resource to get therapy dogs.

First Responder Support Network (FRSN)

This organization provides outreach to families and first responders, including in-person training, videos, audio, and directories of clinicians experienced in working with first responders. FRSN provides a great deal of family support, recognizing that families also experience stress and upheaval when a first responder in their household is suffering from the effects of the job.

National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI)

The active mental health support organization has a section on its website that focuses on firefighters, police officers, paramedics, and other public safety officers. The site contains information on when professionals should reach out for help and direct them to vital resources. There are also listings for support for loved ones.

ResponderStrong

ResponderStrong is a section of the All Clear Foundation’s website that focuses on providing online training to first responders for them to properly handle the stresses of the job. The site includes videos, podcasts, tip sheets, and tool kits that can be used. The site also includes many excellent book recommendations for first responders who are encountering various problems, including emotional issues, marriage problems, and burnout.

SAMHSA First Responders and Disaster Responders Resource Portal

The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration presents many resources for first responders on its website. The site describes the signs of physical and mental stress for first responders and those responding to disasters. It also provides stress management tips for those who have participated in first responder activities during their jobs or volunteer.

Tug McGraw Foundation

The Tug McGraw Foundation is dedicated to helping people with neurological disorders, traumatic brain injury, and post-traumatic stress. Their website includes help and information for first responders and their families. This is a natural fit since many veteran first responders have post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from what they experience on duty.

Exercise and Diet Resources

In order to combat the effects of repeated traumatic events, paramedics and first responders must pay attention to their physical health as well: exercise and diet are key aspects which most people are unaware of (or think don’t apply to them). Keeping the body in the best shape it can be in not only makes first responders more resilient to the negative effects of the job, but it leads to an increase of happiness and mental clarity.

Helping First Responders Live Heathy & Happy Lives

James Novello suggests these online resources as a starting place for first responders and their families to help mitigate the negative effects caused by serving as a first responder. To assure health, happiness, and a long career education must come first in order to understand the what, how, and why behind maintaining health in what can sometimes be an unhealthy career. In addition to these resources once a problem is identified, paramedics and first responders should be proactive and begin helping themselves or their family member today (not tomorrow). They should engage in regular exercise and strength training, and maintain a scienced back diet that promotes overall well-being while engaging in activities to support emotional well-being such as community and family events or hobbies.

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James Novello

James Novello

Experienced Ex-Firefighter & Peer Support. Located in San Francisco, California.