Non-profit helps first responders deal with traumatic experiences

Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 6:33 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Chronic exposure to traumatic experiences, along with stress on the job, can have serious health implications, according to an article by Main Line Health.

Impact First Responders, a non-profit program based out of Lynchburg, aims to change the way first responders deal with day-to-day traumatic experiences. A ribbon-cutting held Wednesday signals a new program that will allow first responders to deal with challenging days on and off the job by talking to their peers, in hopes of relieving stress and other potential mental and physical health concerns. Impact First Responders is a new branch of the larger non-profit organization, Impact Living Services...based out of Fort Worth Texas.

Bryan Williams, a lieutenant for Lynchburg Police, says this will allow younger first responders to reach out to their peers of all ages in hopes of healing trauma on and off the job.

Williams states, “Each officer can help officers that they know personally. Sometimes a younger officer may not want to reach out to an official peer support team person… maybe because of a higher rank issue or something like that. Everyone there will have a coworker or friend that they know that they are comfortable reaching out to. By getting this training out to all officers of the department, it will make their lives a lot easier.”

The non-profit organization’s ultimate goal is to provide peer support training to every first responder in Lynchburg by next year.