Why a Program for First Responders?
The disasters that first responders deal with on a day-to-day basis have a tremendous cumulative effect on these individuals. These include life-threatening situations at work, disturbing images, frightening sounds, and high stress.
These factors have been identified as creating a higher than average risk for misusing substances like alcohol, prescription drugs, or street drugs.
It’s common for personnel in these professions to seek comfort in alcohol or other drugs as a way to alleviate stress and promote social interaction within their community of peers.
As a result, substance abuse rates within these vocations are higher than the general population. For example, a recent University of Arizona study found that police officer alcohol abuse rates also increase through lengths of service.
After two years on the job, police officers’ alcohol abuse rates are at 27 Percent, but after four years on the job, that number increases to 36 Percent.
The US Firefighters Association found that 33 percent of firefighters abuse alcohol compared to 16 percent of the general population. Higher still, is that an estimated 40 percent of EMTs are abusing alcohol and/or other drugs, a full two out of five EMTs.
Our First Responder Track: Key Clinical Components
We offer a distinct treatment track that directly addresses the unique needs of first responders. This program includes several key clinical components.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one type of treatment that is often effective at helping professionals like EMTs, Firefighters, and Police Officers.
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): EMDR is different than other types of psychotherapy that typically have a goal of altering the individual’s thoughts, feelings, and responses to the triggering event.
- Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE): Prolonged Exposure Therapy is one of the four evidenced based treatments that can reverse the signs and symptoms experienced by many first responders.
- Stress Inoculation Training (SIT): This is a multi-faceted type of CBT designed to help First Responders at JHT cope with stress. The essence of SIT is that by exposing residents to increasing levels of “perceived” stress, they practice employing different coping skills and eventually develop increased tolerance of immunity to a particular stimulus.
Our Case Management Program for First Responders
We approach our First Responders Specialty Track with extensive sensitivity to this group’s unique needs. Whether it’s law enforcement, physicians or nurses, there are significant ramifications for First Responders with a substance abuse problem.
We have developed not only the clinical services necessary for healing but also the “in the trenches” case management program to assist in their professional reintegration to employment.
Our case management program includes:
- Board, employer, or human resources interaction: Our case management services act as an advocate for first responders to ensure that all requirements of their employer, board or association is being met.
- Disciplinary process: We will work with our first responders to ensure that they understand the disciplinary process, that they have the opportunity to process the disciplinary action and we will work to advocate on their behalf for employment reunification during and after the treatment episode.
- Professional reintegration: All clients are provided with an aftercare program. The elements of the aftercare program are determined on a case by case basis. This may include a continuation of individual therapy, integration into the 12 step community and post discharge drug testing regimen.
- Case management staff: Our case management team at Journey Hillside Tarzana are highly skilled. Our Senior Case Manager is a Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor Level II and is a nationally certified Substance Abuse Professional with specialized training in federal guidelines for substance abuse treatment.
- 12-step model treatment services: At the very core of Journey Hillside Tarzana Case Management Program is the introduction and exposure to the 12 Step Treatment modality. This begins with the exposure to the first Three Steps of the 12 Step Modality. Case Managers will assist and guide the Resident through book and literature studies, exposure to and completion of Step work. This will serve the Resident well as he/she transitions back to the community.
- Relapse prevention counseling: During the course of care, the Case Manager will do intensive Relapse Prevention Counseling.
Psychiatry and Psychopharmacology Services
Journey Hillside Tarzana has a Medical Director that is Board Certified in Addiction Medicine. He works in conjunction with our Nurse Practitioner in the treatment and care of our residents throughout the Detoxification and Residential Treatment stages.
Our Family Program
Journey Hillside Tarzana prioritizes the family as an integral and essential part of the healing process. The entire family really requires care. We seek to do this through ongoing regular sessions with the family. Due to distance and the current pandemic this is most often done telephonically or via videoconferencing.
Yoga, Mindfulness & Meditation Services for First Responders
Journey Hillside Tarzana is a firm believer in the benefits of Yoga, Mindfulness and Meditation for residents in early recovery. The most commonly used mind-body approach is yoga, a traditional Indian philosophical and spiritual school, as well as a health care practice which originated more than 3,000 years ago and combines physical activity, mindfulness, relaxation, and breathing exercises.
Continued Care Plan and Alumni Outreach Program for First Responders
At Journey Hillside Tarzana, we believe that discharge planning and Continuing Care Planning start on the day of admission.
Once these elements have been established, a Continuing Care Plan will be put into place. The Treatment Team will meet with the Resident to go over the essential elements of the plan and family sessions will be conducted to ensure that all family participants agree with the plan and are supportive of the plan. This will also include services the family is receiving together, which is why their support is critical.
Journey Hillside Tarzana’s commitment doesn’t stop there. It really is just the beginning. Our Alumni Outreach Director will be fully apprised of the Continuing Care Plan and will become a part of the Resident and his/her family’s support system from that point forward. This includes regular contact, telephonically or by videoconferencing, to assess the compliance of the family and Resident with the elements of the plan.