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Being Responsive to First Responders Program Focuses on Resiliency in the Face of Trauma By CINDY SANDERS

sustain healthy habits, down the stairs to escape, the police and • Social – the creation of firemen were running up the stairs into the “Firemen, policemen, and healthy social networks that foster path of danger.’â€? EMTs – they all unfortunately communication and connectedness, With that image in mind, Genovese experience more trauma in a and said a variance on a quote from President month than most people do in • Spiritual – the strengthening of John F. Kennedy, itself a paraphrase of a their life,â€? said Michael Genovese, core values, beliefs and principles, Bible verse, has become a driver for his MD, JD, chief medical officer of which will vary by individual. work with first responders. “To those from Acadia Healthcare. “Many first A recent three-day training whom much is expected, much should be responders are part of a culture was held in Martin, Tenn., and given,â€? he said of supporting all who put where historically you didn’t talk brought together first responder themselves on the front lines of trauma and about this stuff ‌ you ‘suck it up’ representatives from across the state. tragedy. “If we’re going to expect that from and move on,â€? he continued. “When we do the train-the-trainer them, we darn well better provide them the However, humans cannot model, the reach is exponential,â€? best medical care possible.â€? ‘unsee’ what they have already Genovese said of creating the witnessed, noted the behavioral pathway for participants to return health specialist who also serves to their communities and share the as medical director of the Officer lessons learned. “The Tennessee Safety and Wellness Committee group was fantastic. They were of the FBI National Academy passionate about it, and they were Associates (FBINAA). “Last year, engaged.â€? With completion of last 2018, was the third year in a row month’s training, nearly 300 first that more officers died by suicide responders have now attended the For information on future than in the line of duty,â€? said Dr. Michael Genovese (R) discusses the pathology of trauma during a recent program nationwide. programming or to inquire resiliency training for Tennessee first responders. Genovese. “People frequently ask me why about setting up a training Research has established I’m so invested with first responders. for first responders and/ repeated trauma actually causes injury go to the cardiologist. If you broke a leg, Every generation has a sentinel moment. or emergency department to the brain. “Your neuropathways are you’d go to the orthopaedist. If you have For me, it was 9/11,â€? explained Genovese. personnel, please contact: shaped in part by your environment and an injury to your brain, you should be Growing up in New York, he said he had Joseph Collins • 920.973.7310 • your experiences. Your brain gets trained just as open to going to get treatment for many friends in the Twin Towers on Sept. jvcpublicsafetyconsultants@ to think in the context of your experiences. that,â€? Genovese stated. “The earlier you 11, 2001. “Of those who made it out, I was It’s a normal reaction to an abnormal intervene, the better your chances for full struck by them saying, ‘As we were running stress,â€? Genovese explained of the lasting recovery,â€? he added. changes that can occur to the amygdala, Asking for help, however, requires hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. culture change ‌ both among those in Yet, he continued, research out of the need of help and their supervisors. Fear University of Pennsylvania and several exists that seeking treatment could cost a other sites has also shown the protective career. Although it is a legitimate concern, properties of resiliency. “People who had the training program teaches participants it more resilience were not as negatively is possible to heal from PTSI and continue impacted by adverse events,â€? he said, to be highly effective in the field. Through adding those with higher resiliency were the trainings, Genovese has encouraged more likely to bounce back faster and to supervisors to create a formalized pathway have post-traumatic growth instead of postback to service so that individuals aren’t traumatic stress injury (PTSI). punished for trying to improve their mental Recognizing it isn’t possible to health. change the nature of first responders’ Warning signs that a first responder jobs, Genovese said the hope is to lessen might need help include changes in the impact of trauma by improving the mood, sleep, energy or appetite, and/or response to it. The Comprehensive Officer withdrawal from social situations and peers. Resilience Train-the-Trainer Program in Genovese added most people are not going partnership with the FBINAA was born to say they are depressed or anxious, but out of this desire to provide first responders they might mention a recurrent, unwanted with tools to address their continued memory or exhibit a heightened startle proximity to trauma and to help colleagues response or become more negative in Talk to your KraftCPAs advisor about how our and supervisors recognize warning signs of thinking or mood. An individual struggling PTSI. ‌ possibly without realizing it ‌ might healthcare team can help alleviate your tax reform “I see this as engaging in preventive have nightmares and flashbacks of pains so you can get back to what matters most: medicine,â€? said Genovese. “We’re trying to particularly traumatic situations and begin effectuate change.â€? avoiding triggers that serve as a reminder providing excellent patient care. Genovese said it’s important to of the event. “Your world gets smaller and acknowledge a post-traumatic stress is an smaller,â€? Genovese noted. injury, not a weakness. During the trainings, While it could be one incident that he discusses the biology of trauma to triggers PTSI, Genovese said it’s more underscore that message. It’s also vital to often the result of cumulative trauma built build resiliency by giving responders the up over time. “It’s almost like you’re filling tools to effectively address the pressure and up a bottle of water; and at some point, it trauma that comes with the job in order to begins to overflow,â€? he explained. View our tax reform resources at prevent injury. The training sessions present 12 But if injury does occur, first responders modules focused on four domains: 3UDFWLFH0DQDJHPHQW‡5HLPEXUVHPHQW‡2SHUDWLRQV‡&RPSOLDQFH should be allowed and encouraged to seek • Mental – the ability to effectively cope, ‡NUDIWKHDOWKFDUHFRP assistance. “If you had chest pain, you’d • Physical – the ability to adopt and

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