Public Safety Health & Wellness News

Grant To Provide Boulder County Sheriff’s Office With In-house Mental Health Services

Law enforcement officers deal with tragedy on a day-to-day basis — from domestic violence situations to fatal car crashes and shootings. The challenges come with the job and a potential to leave a harmful and lasting impact on officers.

“I think sometimes (emergency responders) get a rap for not feeling or having emotions for the stuff they go through,” said Dr. Jaime Brower . “The truth of it is, you can’t be immersed in people’s trauma, turmoil and sadness and walk through it thinking it won’t have an impact on you. That would be equivalent of thinking you can walk through water without getting wet.”

Thanks to a $75,000 grant, Brower, a clinical psychologist, who owns Brower Psychological Police and Public Safety Services, has been working with the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office for the last two months to provide in-house mental health services to officers.


Peer Support Sessions For First Responders Could Soon Be Confidential By Law

Lawmakers are hoping to encourage first responders to get help. To do that, they’re pushing a bill to make peer support confidential with exceptions. Gary Hester is a retired police chief who works with the Florida Police Chiefs Association. He says the stress first responders deal with can take a toll on them:

“I don’t think folks are on a daily basis are designed to deal with [the] death of children and [the] death of adults and violent crime, and vehicle crashes.”

First responders can include law enforcement officers, firefighters, paramedics, and more. First responders can develop PTSD, depression, and attempt suicide.


Gainesville Fire Rescue, Firefighters Working To Address First Responder Suicide Rate

In over 15 years working with Gainesville Fire Rescue, Lt. Chad Belger has deployed to fires, trauma calls and accidents. Belger often finds himself on the front lines of tragedies while holding back his feelings.

Until two and a half years ago, they took a toll on him.

 “When you go and you do the very best you can, but you still fail. There’s a lot of guilt and shame that’s involved,” Belger said. He recalled the day he responded to two back-to-back child drowning calls.

Belger said he started to take these calls personally, he isolated himself from his peers, and he stopped showing up to work. He hit rock bottom.


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