All Clear Foundation Pioneers Emergency Responder Mental Health Training Curriculum with Support from FirstNet, Built with AT&T in Five States

All Clear Foundation is a national nonprofit dedicated to supporting the wellbeing of the Emergency Responder community. The cumulative stress and trauma of Response work, whether in the field or medical setting, can erode a Responder’s health, wellbeing, and relationships. Many, unfortunately, experience a decreased personal quality of life as a consequence of the job.

ACF understands resiliency is vital to the overall performance and wellbeing of those who tirelessly serve our communities, from recruitment through retirement. To better equip Responders to survive and thrive on the job and in life, the ACF ResponderStrong Mental Health Curriculum was developed and presented by Responders for Responders. Full of impactful and useful content, it can be easily incorporated into training at any level: entry, peer support, in-service, and family events.

This four-hour program, designed to be delivered whole or in shorter segments, provides students with foundational knowledge of Responder mental health, including:

  • Stress – the body’s physiologic response; why and how it manifests in Responders

  • Stress injury– what it is and how to prevent or recover

  • Suicidality – occupational data, awareness, and prevention

  • Resiliency – what it is and ways to develop it further

 "Our goal with this training is not only to increase knowledge but more importantly to erode the stigma that leads so many Responders to suffer in silence. Through the increased awareness and skills generated in this short course, Responders find themselves empowered to better manage the mental and emotional challenges of the job." – states ACF Executive Director, Rhonda Kelly

To amplify the reach and scale effectively, FirstNet®, Built with AT&T has collaborated with All Clear Foundation to sponsor full-day Train the Trainer experiences free to participants across the country, empowering local wellness champions to bring this content to their communities. To date, more than 700 participants have been trained as facilitators of this program.

FirstNet is the only nationwide, high-speed broadband communications platform dedicated to and purpose-built for America’s first responders and the extended public safety community. Shaped by the vision of Congress and the first responder community following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, FirstNet is built with AT&T in public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority, an independent agency within the federal government. These advanced capabilities enable FirstNet to help fire, EMS, EMA, law enforcement and 9-1-1 personnel save lives and protect their communities.

"FirstNet is dedicated to supporting first responders on the front lines and off with health and wellness initiatives," said Dr. Anna Fitch Courie, Director, FirstNet Health and Wellness Program. "All Clear Foundation’s program allows the first responder community to come together to learn about responder mental health, reduce stigma and create a better environment for our public safety community. We are proud to work alongside them to help our first responders through their mental health journey."

From the beginning, results have shown the impact of this content. 130 students took a 12-item assessment before and immediately after the course between January 2018 and January 2020. After the course, responders showed a statistically significant increase in their mental health knowledge from 83% to 92%. A recent cohort reported that 44% believed anxiety and depression were permanent conditions. After the course, 100% recognized these conditions can develop in response to stress and can be healed, if recognized. When asked whether they would recommend the course to fellow responders, 95% of participants responded "yes".

Currently, trainings are slated through 2022 in following states Pennsylvania, Texas, Minnesota, Washington, and Idaho with a virtual option to attend.

FirstNet and the FirstNet logo are registered trademarks of the First Responder Network Authority. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.

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