First responders are regularly exposed to traumatic events during the course of their career. Many of them, however, do not seek outside help and instead attempt to recover in isolation. Sierra Tucson is partnering with Safe Call Now®—a 24-hour crisis referral service for all public safety employees, emergency services personnel, and their family members—to provide professional support and treatment for first responders who are experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance abuse, anxiety, depression, or other related conditions.
Firefighters, police officers, EMT, paramedics, military, and other emergency personnel routinely encounter situations that most people never experience in a lifetime. According to Sean Riley, president and founder of Safe Call Now, “Studies have shown that domestic violence is 2-6 times higher among first responders; PTSD rates are double; divorce rates are as much as 25 percent greater; and addiction rates are reported as high as 3 times the general population.” Riley goes on to explain that long-term exposure to traumatic events has a negative impact on the psyche of any individual, including those in public safety.
Together with Safe Call Now, Sierra Tucson hopes to reduce the stigma of seeking professional help. “First responders are trained to save others and often struggle with ‘saving’ themselves,” Riley notes. The goal of this partnership is to develop an integrated system that removes all barriers and allows these men and women to receive the support they need with dignity and honor. Oftentimes, family members struggle alongside the first responder, and they need support as well. Sierra Tucson’s Family Program provides comprehensive services for loved ones.
Since 1983, Sierra Tucson has been a leader in the treatment of addiction and co-occurring disorders, eating disorders, trauma-related issues, chronic pain, and mood and anxiety disorders. A multidisciplinary team of professionals delivers individualized treatment based on the unique needs of each resident. “Sierra Tucson is committed to offering a complete continuum of care for our public safety workers, “ says Michael Genovese, MD, JD, chief medical officer for Sierra Tucson. “We are grateful for their tireless efforts to keep our community safe. Our hope is to keep them healthy in mind, body, and spirit, so they can continue their calling: helping others.”