First Responders Support Team – Supporting the emotional and mental well-being of First Responders

FRST Programs are Available for ALL First Responders (paid and volunteer) and their families, and all services are confidential.
If you would like to speak to a member of the FRST Team email FRST@firstrespondersomaha.org or call 402-218-1218.

First Responders Foundation started The First Responders Support Team – FRST program to make a difference. The programs available to first responders and families are listed below.

Testimonial from Omaha Firefighter Donnie Dodge here.

First Responders Support Team (FRST) is a collective of specialty trained and culturally competent mental health providers. Each member of the team is a fully licensed mental health practitioner who has dedicated themselves to be specially trained to work with first responders and their families. Together, this team of clinicians has a collective of over 100 years’ experience working with first responders.

First Responders face hardships that most of us will never have to know, including working the scene of accidents sometimes with multiple fatalities, being in a life-threatening situation, helping people with serious illnesses and injuries, and being exposed to infectious disease, coping with line of duty death or injury, and responding to the death of a child or friend or family member.

First Responders face trauma day in and day out, and it takes a toll.  Police and firefighters say the homicides and fatal accidents they encounter on the job can stay with them for months or even years afterward. There is not “one” event that is the event.  First Responders need support to handle job-related trauma, especially post-traumatic stress disorder, before it affects their careers, families and mental health. Stress can cause anxiety, depression, insomnia, GI and heart issues, and suicidal thoughts.

While support exists, not all First Responders are being reached, there are gaps in treatment, and more mental health resources are needed. Another barrier is that it can be difficult for First Responders – who are used to being pillars of strength – to reach out for help.  More education is needed for First Responders and their families regarding the effects of chronic stress from a career as a first responder and how to build resilience to help counteract the stress.

Donate today  Your donation helps First Responders get the help they need to cope with job-related trauma. Together we can help take care of the people that we depend on in our greatest times of need.


Programs Available for First Responders (all services are confidential):

If you would like to speak to a member of the FRST Team or would like more information regarding FRST, contact the team at FRST@firstrespondersomaha.org or call 402-218-1218.

First Responders Spouse Support Session
Spouse sessions provide an opportunity to care for yourself and be in a safe environment to address challenges that arise. Lean ways to help live a more meaningful, intentional life with your first responder. This session is for an adult support person of a First Responder

Stronger Together
Stronger Together is a 4 hour workshop designed to mitigate the effects of stress and trauma upon first responders and their families. This is accomplished by helping plan post critical incident recovery, healing and restoring of resiliency. This workshop focuses on a proactive approach to trauma care. By learning to recognize the effects of trauma personally and how it affects families, first responders increase their ability to successfully recover from traumatic incidences in a shorter period. This workshop is designed to minimize the impact trauma has on families, keeps families intact, extends careers, and save lives. This workshop is held quarterly and is free to any first responder, their life partner, family member or friend.

Home Support Group
These clinician led groups are open to spouses and adult family members of first responders. These considered open groups meaning individuals can come and attend group when support is needed. The support group meets once a month in Omaha. These groups are free, confidential and available to (Dispatcher, Fire, EMS and Law Enforcement) families. No referrals needed. Please contact or call FRST for exact dates, times and locations

Stand-by Support Group
A group specifically focused on supporting first responders recovering from trauma or addiction. These clinician led groups are open to only first responders. The groups are considered open groups meaning that individuals can come and attend group when support is needed or as the shift work allows. The support group meetings are held monthly with two locations, Omaha and Lincoln. These groups are free, confidential and available to all first responders. No referrals needed. Please contact or call FRST for exact dates, times and locations.

JFU – Peer Support Meetings
Peer Support Meetings are an hour long once to twice a month. Please check calendar for exact dates.  Meetings are open to all first responders in the community who are looking for support.  No referral needed.  These supportive, confidential meetings are led by trained peers.  These trained peers are committed to managing the stress of the job in a healthy way and supporting others in their stress management.  Meetings are designed to offer a supportive environment where first responders can openly share about their struggles.  Clinicians are consulted as needed to support group needs.

Sessions
Sessions are 45 – 60 minutes long, designed for any group of first responders (units, crews, high risk units and specialized units, etc.) and any group of spouses or significant others. The sessions encourage participates to explore leading issues or challenges in their work or life. Participates are provided, critical, evidence based tools that help encourage, healthy, self-care practices. Sessions help build endurance (emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually) when experiencing the effects of the first responder life.

Referrals and resources:
Mental health services
When requested, referrals can be provided for professional therapy. All referrals are confidential and can be provided for first responders, spouses, couples or children. All referrals are towards preferred therapists that are culturally competent in working with first responders. Preferred providers often specialize in grief, depression, anxiety, trauma, PTSD, substance use, single and couples therapy. Therapists accept various insurances; accept cash pay and some may do sliding fee scale.

West Coast Post-Trauma Retreat (WCPR)
FRST works closely with WCPR to help connect first responders with WCPR and beginning the registration process. The WCPR program is for first responders whose lives have been affected by their work experience. WCPR is one of only two residential treatment facilities of its kind in the world. The other program is the On-Site Academy in Massachusett. The WCPR residential program provides an educational experience designed to help current and retired first responders, recognize the signs and symptoms of work-related stress including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in themselves and in others. FRSN prefers to identify PTSD as a post-traumatic stress injury. This retreat is a 6 day retreat held at various locations and various times a year.

Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM)
The Nebraska CISM team is available to response when crisis intervention is needed for first responders or their spouses such as peer to peer intervention, crisis management briefings, defusing, or debriefings. Contact CISM for services at: 402-479-4921.

Key Team Members

Jason Workman
Director, First Responder Support Team
Jason Workman received a masters degree in clinical Mental Health Counseling. Jason is a licensed independent mental health practitioner, Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor and Clinically Certified Trauma Professional. Jason has worked with first responders in Nebraska for the last 11 years as a Law Enforcement Chaplain, as a member of the state Critical Incident Stress Management Team (CISM) and presently is a Regional Clinical Director for the state CISM team.  Jason’s experiences include previously serving as a firefighter/EMT in Northern California, Child Protective Services (investigations), Nebraska Department of Correctional Services and Nebraska State Probation. Jason’s experience and passion for working with first responders is what has led him to create the First Responders Support Team.

 

Stephanie Levy

Director, First Responder Support Team

Stephanie Levy received her masters degree in social work and is a licensed independent clinical social worker. Stephanie has been a therapist for the past 15 years and for the past 6 years focused her practice on first responders.  Integrating into the first responder community and receiving specialized training has allowed her to connect with first responders and serve them better. Currently Stephanie serves on the board of trustees for the First Responder Support Network and works as a clinician at their West Coast Post-Trauma Retreats for the past 5 years. She has worked to bring the retreats to the midwest to better serve first responders in this region. Stephanie considers it an honor to be able to serve the first responder community in private practice and through volunteer work.

 

Laura Tennant
Program Administrator, First Responder Support Team
Laura Tennant has years of experience working with nonprofits and is married to a first responder.  She recognizes the importance of mental health treatment and connecting resources for first responders in our community.

FRST Programs are Available for ALL First Responders (paid and volunteer) and their families and all services are confidential.

If you would like to speak to a member of the FRST Team or would like more information regarding FRST, contact the team at FRST@firstrespondersomaha.org or call 402-218-1218.