“Preparing for Retirement: Understanding Psychological, Emotional, and Behavioral Reactions”
Presenter: Medina Baumgart, Psy.D., Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
A sample of sworn law enforcement retirees were surveyed about their retirement adjustment experiences. Approximately 40% of retirees endorsed unexpected retirement-adjustment experiences; of these, 50% were emotional and psychological in nature. Additionally, approximately 50% of all retirees surveyed endorsed experiencing issues related to on-duty exposure to traumatic incidents. Consistent with the existing literature on law enforcement retirement, the survey findings support that retirement adjustment for sworn law enforcement personnel consists of behavioral, psychological, and emotional experiences. This presentation will discuss tips to psychologically, emotionally, and behaviorally prepare for these retirement experiences, as well as recommendations for how law enforcement agencies and peer supporters can support personnel who are nearing retirement or already retired.
“When a Child Dies”
Presenter: Anne Bisek, Psy. D., Doc 911
For many people in emergency services the death of a child during a shift is almost a taboo topic. Yet it is this the of call which causes long lasting pain and grief for those who respond. This dynamic presentation can be requested in a one-hour, four-hour or full day format and is geared for a multiagency audience of first responders. Different hypothetical scenarios are presented with a police officer, paramedic, dispatcher and firefighter to teach the symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. Participants are empowered to challenge the negative beliefs after a tough call for service when a colleague is in distress. Unhealthy coping skills are discussed as well as healthy strategies to use for future critical incidents. There are no photos or 911 tapes in this presentation and culturally appropriate humor is used to balance the intensity of this topic.
This presentation has been well received by peer support teams since 2008.
“Panel: Ventura County Peer Support Coalition: Responding to County Wide Critical Incidents including the Borderline Shooting and subsequent Woolsey Fires”
Carmen Franco, Senior Administrative Specialist, Ventura County Children and Family Services
Shane Matthews, Captain, Camarillo Police Department
Erin Brockus, Assistant Communications Manager, Ventura County Sheriffs Department
Gina Johnson, Deputy Chief, Ventura County Probation Agency
Brian McGrath, Captain, Ventura County Fire Department
Ventura County has brought together teams of peer support coordinators that span multiple disciplines including Sheriff’s Department, Police Department, EMS, EAP, Fire Department, District Attorney and Children and Family Services. The purpose of the Ventura County Peer Support Coalition is to bring together all different departments in order to strategically respond to critical incidents within Ventura County. This panel will discuss the creation of the Ventura County Peer Support Coalition and how it responded to the Borderline Shooting and Woolsey Fires and how such a coalition could be beneficial for any county.
“Resilience 180 – Training for the Action Oriented, Responder Safety, Health and Survival”
Presenter: Matthew Carlson, LPC, Retired Firefighter, Oshtemo, MI Fire Department
Participants will learn how to use a hands-on learning approach to teach responders core concepts of resiliency in emergency services. Participants will learn how to maintain a sense of purpose, what relationship humor style, stress, and resilience have on one another, how sport and performance psychology and the MCI triage system can help manage relationship conflict at home and improve communication, how self-defense and tactical stretching can address total neurobiological effect of trauma, and how to use a Battle Buddy system to prevent imploding on and off the job.
“What is this Witchcraft? A Primer on Psychotherapy: Who, What and does it Really Work?”
Presenter: Tina Casola, M.A., First Alarm Fire Wellness
Fire has ICS, Police have the 10 codes… every industry has their own language-Therapists are no different! Figuring out the ‘Who’ and the “What’ can be intimidating to the point of total avoidance, which can be dangerous! Let me enlighten you on the alphabet soup of my industry: the Who’s (professionals that can help), the What’s (industry standards for effective interventions) and even a little How (what is the rational and effectiveness of the interventions).
“Wellbeing Services Victoria Police Style – Looking After Victoria Police Employees and their Families”
Presenter: Greg Dean, Senior Sergeant, Australia Victoria Police Department
Victoria Police provides law enforcement in the state of Victoria in south-eastern Australia where Melbourne is the capital city. Victoria Police’s Wellbeing Services provides 24/7/365 confidential wellbeing support to its 20,000 employees, whether required for on or off duty or post retirement/resignation incidents, along with their immediate family members. Whether that be providing support to those struggling with mental health issues or providing practical support to those with relationship issues, substance abuse, financial concerns, terminal illnesses or assisting those with physical injuries. Wellbeing Services relies on a suite of services to ensure the support is provided to those employees and family members for life once they have become a member of the Victoria Police family.
In 2016 Victoria Police’s Chief Commissioner, Mr. Graham Ashton, commissioned the world’s first Mental Health Review ever conducted by a first responder agency. The motivation behind this review was to identify the blockers behind employees seeking support for their mental health issues and to remove the stigma behind help-seeking. The review listed 39 recommendations to achieve this goal. The recommendations ranged from the implementation of more extensive mental health literacy at the police academy for recruits and at all leadership promotional courses, an increase in resourcing within Wellbeing Services, the production of a mental health wellbeing action plan along with senior leaders producing video vignettes outlining their own struggles with stressful operational incidents and other policing challenges. This review has resulted in a massive uplift in the workforce seeking assistance from Wellbeing Services.
This presentation aims to outline how these suites of services are activated at any time to support staff in varying circumstances, including recent terrorist based incidents within the Melbourne central business district involving vehicle borne attacks. The strategies used both organizationally and in conjunction with workers compensation insurers and the State Government will be discussed.
Consistent feedback received by the presenter during his recent Sir Winston Churchill Fellowship tour with law enforcement agencies across the USA, Canada and UK indicated that Victoria Police Wellbeing Services are world leaders in the support they provide. A must attend presentation for those wishing to learn and expand their departments’ wellbeing opportunities and functions.
“‘Catching Hell’ Survival Mindset for Street Cops and Other First Responders”
Presenter: Jay Dobyns, Retired Special Agent, Veteran undercover ATF operative, Best Selling Author
The Catching Hell training mission is to raise-the-bar of health and well-being for Street Cops, 1st Responders and their families by upgrading their survival mindset and tradecraft making them smarter, safer, stronger, more aware, and most importantly, keeping them healthy and alive.
“The Facets and Implications of Multi-Dimensional Training for Optimal Wellbeing”
Presenter: Samuel L. Feemster, M.Div., J.D. Supervisory Special Agent (Ret.), Federal Bureau of Investigation
Historically, first responder training, particularly law enforcement training, emphasized tactical survival with a heavy focus on the mental and physical development of officers. The primary goal of this training focus has always been to ensure that academies produce tactically proficient warriors who can take charge of a situation, bring order to chaos remove disruptive elements, and protect the public from harm.
As a result of this type of training, officers can develop the skills necessary to apprehend those who deceive, oppress, terrorize, rape, pillage, and murder citizens. In standing up for good, however, they are repeatedly exposed to evil that wounds them in every human dimension. While bullet-proof do protect vital physical organs from harm, the do not morph into protection for the emotional, psychological or spiritual dimension which are exposed and damaged every encounter.
After being exposed to this session, agencies and officers will have an appreciation for the nexus between proactive multi-dimensional training and optimal wellbeing. More importantly, officers will be introduced to the tools necessary for developing a personal wellness plan.
“Panel: A Widow’s Perspective: PTSD and Suicide and the Journey into the Workers’ Compensation System”
John Ferrone, Esq., Adams, Ferrone & Ferrone
Suzie Anderson, (Widow) Burbank Fire Department
Melanie Weuve, (Widow) OCFA
Stephanie Gutierrez, (Widow) Long Beach Police Department
This presentation will help peer supporters understand how to navigate through the workers’ compensation system when a safety member has committed suicide. The presentation will show a perspective from a widow how the PTSD impacted their lives and what they faced when entering the worker’s compensation system. The presentation will further discuss strategies when a family is facing the work comp system following a suicide.
“Resilience for the Action Oriented”
Presenter: Matthew Fiorenza, Firefighter/Paramedic Anaheim Fire Department
Matt will be discussing his battle with PTS and depression, what happened, and his road to recovery.
“The Evolution of Peer Support in the Los Angeles Fire Department”
Steven Froehlich, Ph.D., Director, Behavioral Health Services
Susan J. Jensen, Firefighter
Charles E. Boswell, Captain
Andrew Gocke, Firefighter
Robby Cordobes, Captain II
Jack Baham, Captain
Marc Shapiro, Battalion Captain/Paramedic
Krystle Madrid, Psy.D., Director, LAFD Behavioral Health Program
Audrey Martinez, Ph.D., LAFD Staff Psychologist
Nancy Mraz, CEAP, Director of Chemical and Behavioral Addictions, UFLAC Center for Health and Wellness
In the last several years, Los Angeles Fire Department Firefighter EMT’s and Paramedics have experienced a measurable increase in traumatic and medical requests for care and assistance. We have seen a significant spike in the scope and number of disasters. As a byproduct of this increasing workload and cumulative stress, we find Peer Support and Behavioral Health programs growing and making a positive difference with our fire personnel. This workshop will focus on the need and the changing level of cultural acceptance within the fire service of Peer Support and Behavioral Health services within the Los Angeles Fire Department.
“How Self Care can Save your Family”
Presenter: Sharla Mandere, Radiant Sunrise Wellness
First Responders spend so much time and energy taking care of others. Where do you put yourself on your priority list? Learn how your relationship with yourself and self care practices (or lack of) can nurture or hinder your relationships with your family and how to create a home filled with love and happiness so you all can thrive.
“Keeping the Super Heroes Super”
Presenter: Kimberly Miller, Ph.D., Kimberly A. Miller & Associates, LLC
Public safety professionals, and especially peer supporters are passionate about serving others; however, this calling can take its toll. High stress, low sleep, dealing with the worst of society, witnessing human tragedy and listening to other’s stories of trauma/stress can reduce employees’ mental/physical health. This class will explore the differences between stress, burnout and compassion fatigue and describe how to address each one, discuss why we all struggle to have balance in our lives and engage in regular self-care, detail what our “early warning systems” are, and describe specific strategies, tools and interventions that can be used by both individuals and organizations to foster healthy coping, balance and a positive mindset in employees.
“The Aftermath of an OIS”
Presenter: Kelly Phillips, Sergeant, Anaheim Police Department
On July 22, 2012, a gang member attempted to kill Kelly and his two partners. Blessed to survive the terrifying encounter, no one knew what the following years would bring. Kelly will share how politics, media, and Department reactions affected him and how he overcame them.
“The Role of a Public Safety Chaplain”
Presenter: Chuck Price, Chaplain, F.B.I. and the El Cajon and San Diego Police Departments
In this seminar we will define what a chaplain is by discussing the differences between clergy and chaplaincy. We will also explore barriers for chaplains and how PEER Support can help them integrate with personnel. Our time will conclude with services that chaplains provide free of charge and how to begin or revitalize a chaplain program within your agency.
“The 15:17 to Paris” Don’t Be A Bystander: Be the Spark That Ignites Change”
Presenter: Spencer Stone, Author, Actor, Retired United States Air Force Staff Sergeant
On August 21, 2015, Staff Sgt. Spencer Stone reminded the world what a true American hero looks like. With his childhood friends by his side, Stone rushed headlong into the barrel of an assault rifle, tackling and subduing a would-be terrorist just as he was about to open fire on a crowded train. Stone’s remarkable courage earned him honors both at home and abroad, but it would not be the last time he faced harrowing odds and near-certain death.
Nothing in his past suggested he would rise to the occasion so dramatically and successfully when needed. His actions seem to prove the old adage that heroes are almost always ordinary people who, when confronted with great challenges, respond in an extraordinary fashion. In a gripping speech, Stone recounts his own experiences, emphasizing the importance of taking action when we see other human beings in trouble and weaving a rich account of courage, honor, community and destiny that audiences will find both riveting and life-affirming.
“Maximizing the Effectiveness of Fire Service Behavioral Health Programs”
Presenter: Ed Sherman, Psy.D., Mental Health Clinician/Volunteer Fire Lieutenant, The Counseling Team International/Cal-Fire
Fire service behavioral health programs can be tremendously beneficial in helping to maintain ongoing wellness. But to achieve their full potential they need periodic evaluation and occasional fine-tuning. This presentation will address the ways to maintain and increase the active use of and participation in these programs. There will also be a discussion about how to gather accurate feedback to determine if the program is serving the needs for which it’s intended, and to assess the effectiveness of the services provided. Internal and external resources will be considered, including recruiting and motivating peer support team members and working effectively with mental health professionals. Each of these topics will be reviewed with the ultimate goal of making behavioral health programs as useful and effective as possible.
EMDR/PTSD Best Treatment Practices
Presenter: Deborah Silveria, Ph. D., The Counseling Team International
This class will discuss the specifics surrounding EMDR and how it has been used to help reduce stress in people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The successes of the restructuring aspects through EMDR appear to be due to the fact that the directed eye movements diffuse and weaken negative imagery – this strengthens the client’s positive imagery and beliefs. The class will provide Peer Supporters with a better awareness of the EMDR technique and give them another tool as an option when they refer peers for outside/additional help.
The Art and Science of Connecting with Others
Presenter: Jim Uhl, Sergeant, Peer Support Coordinator, Whittier Police Department & Chief Leadership Officer, Breaking the Chain Consulting
A CISM Debriefing is a beautiful exercise of leadership and great leadership is all about movement; getting others to willingly move from point A (where they currently are) to point B (where they need to be). Creating this kind of movement is predicated upon our ability to connect with other people. As humans, we are drawn toward human connection. In fact, it is the key to our survival. However, connecting with others does not come naturally. It requires keen awareness and the ability to overcome our natural, fear-centered, and ego-centric tendencies.
This course will show you the art and science of connecting with others so your leadership can have maximum, positive impact during a CISM debriefing.
Objective(s): Maximize one’s ability to connect with others by overcoming one’s natural, fear-centered tendencies.
1. Overcome the hurdles to human connection
2. Be provided effective strategies on how to connect with others quickly and effectively
“A Survivor’s Perspective of PTSD for First Responders”
Presenter: Brad White, Retired Whittier Police Sergeant
A first hand account of PTSD from an officers perspective, and a police departments attempts to deal with mental health injuries with the best intentions, but no clear plan or understanding of the issue.