First responders work on the front lines of tragedy. Police officers, paramedics, and firefighters routinely put the needs of others ahead of their own; and, such people work in environments that hardly allow them to talk about their own problems. The paradox is that the very same people who disregard their own safety for the sake of others are also some of the most vulnerable to experiencing lasting trauma, substance use disorder, and co-occurring mental illness.
Men and women working in high-risk occupations are at a heightened risk of using drugs and alcohol to cope with their experiences. Witnessing horrific events – such as the loss of family members, children, and co-workers – can leave seemingly indelible scars on a person’s psyche. In many cases, those living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and co-occurring mental illness feel it is unacceptable to reach out for help.
The culture of first responders is made up of heroes, and heroes are not supposed to have weaknesses according to popular belief. The result is that many brave Americans needlessly suffer in silence and fail to get the help they so desperately need. Which is why sometimes a hero’s most heroic act involves reaching out for help and starting a journey of recovery.
Helping First Responders Find Recovery
Many people engaged in dangerous fields of work struggle with alcohol and substance use disorders and mental health conditions stemming from untreated PTSD. Those who feel unable or unwilling to seek assistance experience relationship problems, employment setbacks, irritability, and sleep disturbances. It is absolutely vital that first responders feel supported and empowered to seek help; it is critical that they come to believe that seeking help is a sign of strength rather than weakness.
At Hemet Valley Recovery Center and Sage Retreat, we have successfully treated many first responders over the years. Men and women presenting with untreated PTSD, anxiety, depression, and addiction. In many cases, unhealthy coping mechanisms like drinking and drugging become the only way such individuals can make it through the day. Realizing that there was a need for a program tailored specifically for first responders, we designed a Heroes Program. We help firefighters, peace officers, EMTs, and active and retired military personnel learn healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with the symptoms of mental illness.
Our team of professionals utilizes a scientific and holistic approach to help our nation’s heroes confront negative life experiences and the pathologies that trauma can give rise to, such as depression and anxiety. Simply put, we help first responders get better and get back to work, relying on recovery rather than drugs and alcohol.
We understand that there are limited options for this demographic, few treatment centers offer tracks similar to our Heroes Program. We believe that it is worth mentioning that the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) recognized the need for helping more first responders find recovery. The IAFF created the Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Treatment and Recovery for its member firefighters struggling with mental illness. The facility is located near Washington, D.C.
Helping Heroes At HVRC
Please contact us to learn more about our program for first responders. We can conduct a complimentary assessment and discuss your options, please call us today at 866-273-0868 to take the first step toward living in recovery.