Self Care & Wellness

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  • Overview

    The International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) featured the above named article in the 2021 Winter edition of their Campus Law Enforcement Journal. The action plan described in the article is consistent with recommendations from the National Consortium on Law Enforcement Suicide: Final Report, published October 1, 2020. ‘Unspoken Questions’ refers to the reluctance to and/or avoidance of asking direct and specific questions, due to concerns of stigma and negative occupational impact, that can occur when a law enforcement employee experiences a personal mental health issue. Despite being generally aware of available mental health services, skeptical perceptions exist regarding accessing mental health care. For the agency, this skepticism contributes to the suspicion of intent and general distrust among employees. Consequently, the specific and direct questions may never get asked and remain ‘Unspoken Questions’. The worst case outcome is death by suicide or ‘loss of a whole life’. Another tragic result is that an employee may continue to experience the pain and despair of unresolved mental health issues, ‘the loss of a partial life’. This bold action plan challenges agency leadership to demonstrate organizational commitment by endorsing two separate transparent trainings that call for the integration of command staff and designated human resources representatives in the actual training in order to provide a forum for employees and give a voice to those ‘Unspoken Questions’.

    Learning Objectives:

    Upon completion, participants will be able to
    • Be instrumental in leading an agency-wide culture committed to promoting physical and mental health and wellness.
    • Play a critical role in the agency’s transparent integrated approach to ensure that suicide prevention is prioritized and that norms and practices that support mental health and wellness are integrated into every aspect of policing.
    • Be more capable to support efforts to reduce law enforcement deaths by suicide and eliminate the stigma associated with law enforcement personnel who experience mental health issues.


    • Kevin W. Condon, LCSW, BCD


      Law Enforcement Response to Mental Health, LLC

      Kevin W. Condon, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), Board Certified Diplomate (BCD). In June of 2002, Kevin retired from the Coral Gables (FL) Police Department (CGPD) as a lieutenant with over 25 years of service. He served as Commander of the Crisis Negotiation Team and SWAT Team. Kevin participated as a member of a CISM team for emergency responders serving Miami-Dade County. Kevin received the CGPD Life Saving Award for his interaction with a person with a mental illness.
      Following his retirement, Kevin moved to Georgia and began a second career as a mental health professional. He held positions as a community Child and Adolescent therapist, Clinical Director of a State of GA residential program, and therapist at the University of Georgia. In March of 2018, after over six years with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Kevin retired from the position of LCSW.
      Kevin is certified by Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council (P.O.S.T.) as a Lecturer on Law Enforcement and Mental Health. He is a certified instructor for Mental Health First Aid - Public Safety. Kevin has developed and presented training courses on issues of law enforcement and mental health.
      Kevin has been recognized as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) on law enforcement and mental health by the Collaborative Reform Initiative-Technical Assistance Center. CRI-TAC is a partnership with the Department of Justice's (DOJ) Office of Community Oriented Policing which is implemented under the leadership of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP).
      In November of 2018, Kevin founded ‘Law Enforcement Response to Mental Health, LLC’. He provides training, consultation, and presentations related to law enforcement and mental health. During Kevin’s early years as a law enforcement officer, he experienced his own mental health issues. Kevin shares his personal journey in the interest of ‘paying it forward’.

  • Overview

    Presentation Details:

    This presentation will be prerecorded followed by a live breakout session with interactive activities and facilitated conversation. The content will include educational information on the particular types of stress that comes with disasters and impacts an activated Emergency Operations Center environment. Whether that EOC is a government agency, a private business or a school system, the work is impacted by the intensity of the task at hand. Emergency Managers of all kinds often see themselves as immune since they are not in the field dealing hands-on with victims or survivors.
    The reality is they are at times more prone to disaster stress than their counterpart first responders. The appropriate use of CISM activities are designed to keep people productive, not take them off line. Just like trickle charging a battery, effective in the moment disaster stress management can help ensure good judgement and appropriate decisions are being made. This workshop will use case studies and facilitated conversation to explore this topic.

    Learning Objectives:

    Upon completion, participants will be able to
    • Participants will examine the unique stressors in an EOC environment
    • Participants will be able to differential between Disaster Stress Management on Disaster Mental Health
    • Participants will increase their knowledge of deploying to an activated Emergency Operations Center


    • Mary C. Schoenfeldt

      Emergency Management Professional

      Green Cross Academy of Traumatology

      Dr. Mary Schoenfeldt is an Emergency Manager with a specialty in school and community crisis. She has a passion for Disaster Psychology delivers Disaster Stress Management for a non profit ..Green Cross Academy of Traumatology. She responded to Columbine HS shooting, Hurricane Katina, Haitian Earthquake, Sandy Hook Elementary Shooting, Hurricane Harvey and was in the Emergency Operations Center for 6 weeks following the 530 Mudslide. She currently is providing support manage COVID 19. When she isn’t traveling she is behind the podium as Past President of Everett Port Gardner Rotary.


  • (Video & Handout)

    Add to cart $4.99


    This presentation outlines the findings of a small yet impactful study exploring the experiences of Peer Support Workers in an Irish Fire based EMS organisation. It was noted that there was a gap in the literature pertaining to the voices of those first responders who provide peer support to their colleagues and so a qualitative research approach utilising semi structured interviews was carried out. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was used to examine the results and findings revealed four master themes, namely Giving Back, Old versus New, Personal Transformations and Frustrations. These, along with their twelve superordinate themes, will be presented using direct quotes from participants transcripts. Much of the research on peer support in first responders reports the negative effects of critical incident stress but this study demonstrates that there are positives to be gleaned from this essential work. Reflexivity of the researcher will be described as it is of the utmost importance in this study and the quality of the work will also be addressed. Recommendations will be made on the implications for possible future research in this area.

    Learning Objectives:

    Upon completion, participants will be able to
    • Describe the ‘Shattered Vase’ metaphor.
    • List some of the components of post traumatic growth.
    • Outline the benefits and challenges of providing peer support in emergency services, from the peer supporter perspective.


    • Michelle L. O'Toole, BSc, GDip EMS, MA

      Researcher (Former Firefighter/Advanced Paramedic)

      Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

      Formerly a Firefighter, Advanced Paramedic and CISM Team member with Dublin Fire Brigade, Republic of Ireland, I was recently appointed to full time researcher role in the Simulation Dept of Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. I'm an Accredited Paramedic Tutor and CISM Instructor with an interest in enhancing mental health and wellbeing in all first responders, particularly following traumatic events. I have completed a MAsters in Psychological Trauma at University of Nottingham (UK) which sparked my interest in Post Traumatic growth following adverse events. My presentation will be based on peer supporters perspectives of providing support in an Irish context.

  • Overview

    Health and safety legislation exists to protect the mental health of workers, including those at high risk of psychological injury, by separating the responsibilities between the worker (for self and others) and the manager (for the work environment). However, the traditional clinical viewpoint seems to ignore this in favour or seeing all psychological injuries as phenomena in need of medical, psychiatric or psychological expertise once symptoms have emerged and persisted. For example, symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have to await the passage of 28 days before diagnosis and treatment, while health and safety law demands immediate action. As crisis intervention is designed for immediate action and clinical guidance requires a delay, crisis intervention appears to be in keeping with legislation created to secure mental health. The tension that exists between the clinician’s advice to ‘watch and wait’ and the peer’s compulsion to ‘act now’ might be resolved by a psychological risk assessment undertaken in the immediate 28 day post-incident period.

    Risk assessment for any health condition has three steps: 1. Identify the hazard, 2. Intervene to minimise or eliminate the hazard, and, 3. Monitor to ensure the intervention has worked. An online portal that measures depression, anxiety and PTSD and reports results to the completer themselves has several advantages. First, the assessments can be the same as those likely to used by the clinician should symptoms persist and recovery does not occur. Second, the completer is now aware of their likely condition and the level of risk exhibited by the scores. Third, the organisation can be informed of the overall levels of mental health by demographic variables including team, department and location. With information shown to the worker and statistical patterns shown to the manager both carry their own legal responsibility to act to ‘minimise or eliminate’ the hazard represented by high scores on clinical assessments.

    Taking the discrepancy that exists between the clinical viewpoint and the crisis intervention viewpoint a secure online portal has been designed to meet the health and safety demand for risk assessment by informing the worker themeslves (with contact details for support and guidance), informing the organisation’s managers of ‘hot-spots’ of mental health hazards in the workplace and putting both ‘on notice’ that they should now act. The ‘I didn’t know’ claim to justify inaction would become invalid for both parties. This presentation will show how the backdrop of health and safety legislation justifies the use of crisis intervention following critical incidents. It also offers a means by which workers can self-assess and decide how they will tackle the risk they have been informed of, In addition this will allow managers to shape the workplaces structure and policies in light of the patterns emerging from the de-identified data generated by the workers collectively. The potential to use the data generated to underpin mental health policy, identify training needs and show the effectiveness of crisis intervention will be discussed.

    Learning Objectives:

    Upon completion, participants will be able to:
    • Recognise key indicators that return to duty is safe following a critical incident
    • Assess risks to mental health in compliance with workplace safety and health legal demands
    • Complete assessment, intervention and return-to-duty within 28 days of a critical incident


    • John Durkin, MSc. PhD

      STAGE-28 International

      John Durkin Ph.D sits on the Boards of the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF), Crisis Intervention Management, Australasia (CIMA) and is co-director of STAGE-28 International offering training, research and consultancy in crisis intervention and psychological risk assessment. His interest in posttraumatic growth took hold in his early career as a firefighter and was later strengthened by his role in the post-9/11 support effort at New York’s fire and police departments. Convinced that critical incident stress management (CISM) delivered by peers had the potential to prevent a number of mental disorders he sought enhancements that might challenge clinical therapies for effectiveness. Further qualifications and training persuaded Dr Durkin that peers delivering crisis intervention in a person-centered fashion would prove superior to standard treatments for PTSD and facilitate posttraumatic growth. A number of pilot projects have supported this and led to training a team of firefighters in CISM, informed by person-centered theory. When Dr Durkin was called to lead the crisis response for the Metropolitan Police Service following London’s 2017 terrorist attacks and Grenfell Tower fire, the same team of firefighters came in support. Over 80 police officers were seen and no report of PTSD or depression had been received three years later. Growth in police officers and firefighters has been widely reported and awaits empirical confirmation in future projects. The legal demands of occupational safety and health were met during this period leading to the design of a psychological risk assessment for use in the emergency, medical and military services.


  • (Video & Handout)

    Add to cart $9.99


    The purpose of this presentation is to shed light and start the conversation of addressing PTSD in the 911 telecommunications profession. In 2015 I was working as a police dispatcher for Boston police, and successfully managed an officer involved shooting. While I received many awards for how I managed the situation, the fallout of PTSD and lack of support had me making the difficult decision to leave 911 altogether in order to address my mental health. During my journey of healing, I came to the realization that the 911 field was my passion, and that dispatchers everywhere are lacking the support needed in order to continue in the field. I’ve now been back in the filed for 4 years. In addition to sharing my story, I’ve applied my experience to working on NENA’s Wellness Committee, specifically the Peer Support sub-committee, and the Acute Stress working group. Locally, I attended the Group and Individual Counseling Training, and applied to be a part of the local CISM team, which recognizes the important of including 911 personnel for defusing and debriefings. I am currently the point of contact for my agency. Recently, myself and other 911 professionals on the team have been meeting to discuss the 10 top calls for dispatchers, as well as discuss how we can spread the word that CISM teams in our area is a resource available to all dispatchers. In addition to walking viewers through my story – the initial call, the PTSD fallout, and the steps I took to change my mindset and heal – I want to be able to present the dispatcher’s point of view in handling critical incidents, and how agencies can help stop burnout and high turnover by providing resources to their dispatchers.

    Learning Objectives:

    Upon completion, participants will be able to:
    • Identify problems 911 professionals face on the job
    • Understand how they can contribute to changing the conversation about PTSD in first responders
    • Identify obstacles 911 personnel face utilizing a CISM team


    • Nicole Janey

      Emergency Communications Supervisor

      Chelsea Emergency Management

      Nicole has been working in the 911 field for 15 years. Highlights of her career include working the Boston Marathon Bombing and the ensuing week, as well as successfully managing an officer down call. Following that event, she took a break from 911 in order to address the PTSD. She returned to 911 with a passion for all things related to 911 mental health and wellness, and is particularly focused on spreading the word about the effects of PTSD in the 911 community, and the need for better support and services for our personnel. She is also involved in the Greater Boston Law Enforcement CISM team, and the National Emergency Number Association. She is active in several subcommittees within NENA's wellness continuum. As a side project, she is currently curating “You Are Not Alone: Portraits of the Gold Line Family” , a photography project that seeks to put a face to all members of the 911 profession, and showcase how everyone is effected by the job, regardless of role.

  • Overview

    Background  for this Presentation:
    Crisis responders, peer supporters, and caregivers have entered into the world of COVID crisis and trauma. They experience the worst of situations many only read about or see through electronic media. They enter into COVID crisis day after day and hour after hour. Distress and the results of this high level of stress are a constant companion and the ramifications are life altering for most of these providers of care in crisis. Research, education, and training have taught them that stress mitigation is an essential part of their survival. Self-care is fundamental to being a crisis responder and building resiliency is not an option. Unfortunately, most crisis responders have only learned and practiced the physical and emotional aspects of building resiliency, and sometimes they have found it lacking. Rest and exercise, diet and hydration– these are the physical essentials for building resiliency. Building a strong system of social support, catharsis, and reinterpretation – these are some emotional essentials for building resiliency. What if there’s more? What if there are untapped resources for enhancing the resiliency we try to build? What if you could develop a few habits that could multiply your ability to be resilient even through the worst events and times of your life? What is you could do it without going to the gym, without spending a lot of money, or without having to go to a therapist? It can be done. Transformational resilience can happen!

    Transformation is not a change brought about by simply doing good or improving our behavior. Imagine a person who is undernourished, sickly, and pale, but who puts on makeup to improve their appearance. They may look healthier, but the makeup is only cosmetic, something externally applied. What they really need is a genuine change that results from a life process within.

    If that same undernourished, pale person were to eat healthy, nourishing food, a noticeable change would begin to occur. Their color would improve and their body would be strengthened. Eventually, their appearance would become healthy not because of something they did outwardly, but because of something that changed inwardly.

    Transformation occurs at the cellular level – the lump of coal, under a great deal of pressure, becomes a diamond. The coal does not become fluorescent nor does it change color – it becomes completely different matter with different characteristics, value, and purpose. Coal does not pretend to be a diamond; it completely becomes a diamond.

    Need this Presentation Addresses:
    Today, responders face a myriad of COVID challenges on a regular basis. These challenges may be physical, emotional, operational, organizational, financial – in addition to relational, personal, spiritual, mental, behavioral, etc. Unfortunately, most crisis responders have only learned and practiced the physical and emotional aspects of building resiliency, and sometimes they have found it lacking.

    Each individual may experience COVID challenges differently. However, each responder has the ability to transform his or her present self into a healthier self by using the pressure of the COVID crisis to transform characteristics that will enhance resilience.

    Purpose of this Presentation:
    To teach crisis responders, peer supporters, and care providers to enhance resilience at the cellular level in a COVID world.

    Presentation Content:
    1. Presentation includes a broad survey of factors that influence resiliency – internal, external, and personality characteristics.
    2. Based on the principles of self regulation, actions to choose responses that will enhance resilience will be presented through data, anecdotes, and research.
    3. A final action plan with responses, action required, and stress/resilience benefits will be presented.

    Learning Objectives:

    Upon completion, participants will be able to:
    • List pandemic’s unique stressors
    • Describe traditional and transitional resilience
    • Describe strategic application of transformational resilience tactics


    • Naomi Paget, BCC, DMin, FAAETS

      Rev. Dr.

      K-LOVE Crisis Response Care / FBI

      Rev. Dr. Naomi Paget BCC is the Chair, National VOAD ESCC. Her work in disasters/crises has officially spanned 55 years with Red Cross, FBI, SBC Disaster Relief, ICISF, National VOAD and other crisis relief agencies. Instructor, curriculum writer, awarded Fellowship in American Assoc. of Experts in Traumatic Stress and Fellowship in the National Academy of Crisis Management, she is a published author and K-LOVE CRC and ICISF Approved Instructor for many crisis and trauma courses, consulting for several national and international organizations. She is an adjunct professor at Denver Seminary and Gateway Seminary. She has written several courses in peer support, crisis intervention, and chaplaincy which receive contact hours from Crown College. She received the Life Time Achievement Award from ICISF and from Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, and Distinquished Alumni Award from Golden Gate Baptist Theolocial Seminary.


  • Overview

    Communities are demanding police change how they respond to incidents, which someone is in crisis or with mental health and/or social issue concerns. Traditionally, police have responded with a law & order approach, which at times is hurtful to those in need of help. This approach may further escalate someone in crisis, which is not helpful, but further hurts the person in their time of need. Even worse is when officers use physical force when de-escalation would have been far more appropriate.

    Jen Corbin and Lieutenant Steven Thomas will discuss how the SAFER-R model and CISM can be utilized to assist the community in their time of need. Law enforcement routinely responds to traumatic incidents and they will discuss how CISM interventions can be used to help families and the community. Further they will discuss how the SAFER-R model can be adapted to assist citizens whether it be: for children living in traumatic living conditions, someone looking for recovery from substance abuse, someone facing re-entry into the community from incarceration or to assist someone making threats.

    Learning Objectives:

    Upon completion, participants will be able to
    • Describe how the SAFER-R model can be modified for various community policing interventions.
    • List situations which the SAFER-R can be utilized in community policing.
    • Describe a “trauma responsive mindset”


    • Steven J. Thomas


      Anne Arundel County Police

      Lt. Steven Thomas, CCISM has a BA from UMBC and a MA from the University of Baltimore. He started as a patrolman with the Anne Arundel County Police in 1996 where he remained in patrol until he became the CIT and Peer Support Coordinator in 2016. In 2020 the Anne Arundel County CIT Unit was named International CIT Unit of the Year.
      He is the Anne Arundel County CISM Team Coordinator. Further, he is an ICISF approved instructor and in the spring of 2019 received the ICISF Pioneering Spirt Award.
      He is a Youth & Adult Mental Health First Aid Instructor and in 2018 he was named a top 100 instructor.

    • Jennifer Corbin


      Anne Arundel County Crisis Response

      Jennifer Corbin, LMSW is Director of the Anne Arundel County Crisis Response System. Much of her work is in collaborating with outside agencies to work with the crisis system such as A. A. County Police and Fire, Health Dept., Public Schools, local hospitals, and local providers. She is a trained instructor in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA). Ms. Corbin is also trained in Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) and helped develop a peer support team for A.A. County Police. Ms. Corbin received her master’s degree in Social Work from The UMD School of Social Work.