First Responder Wellness

First Responder Wellness

First responders are an integral part of our community, especially during moments of crisis. Someone's bad day is our every day, and we put our whole heart and soul into the work we do and the communities we serve. Whether you want to become a more resilient responder, help yourself or a loved one, or reduce the stigma around mental health in your community, we have resources for you.

We hope these pages will help individuals and organizations begin or continue the conversation about mental health. We will continue to build these pages with support from the community, so please send us any comments or suggestions.

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, dial 988 for the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline (formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) or text VT to 741741 for the Crisis Text Line. Trained counselors are available 24/7.

If you are concerned about your or a loved one's safety or need emergency medical services, call 9-1-1.

In This Section

Every day, we see the worst day of someone’s life. First responders are resilient people, but we all respond to a few bad calls. Here, we offer ways to process after a bad call, explain some of the psychology behind why particular calls can get to us, and provide information about PTSD in first responders. 

Resiliency is the ability to recover and adapt well from stressful events. Experts view it as a skill that you can practice and develop, rather than an innate trait. You can build resilience by practicing mindfulness, getting better sleep, facilitating connections, and being active. 

Addressing stigma in first response is a process. Change is most effective when implemented at multiple levels. This should include both individual and organizational policy change, with a focus on fact-based education to reduce misconceptions of people with mental illness.

Compassion fatigue is a type of work-related stress common in the caring and protective professions. Learn ways to address compassion fatigue in your work.

Most experts estimate at least 25% of first responders have ever had thoughts of suicide or that life was not worth living. If this is you, you are not alone. Resources and help are available.

The main focus of the Commission is to identify and make available pre-incident behavioral health training and post-incident support/aid to all of Vermont’s emergency service providers. This page will be updated with meeting minutes and reports as they become available.