We’re Here for You!
As we all adjust to new daily routines and realities, please know that the First Responder Center for Excellence (FRCE) is here to support you and your family.
We are providing several health and wellness resources that you may find useful during this time. Our team hopes that you, your loved ones and your employees stay safe and look out for each other’s health and well-being.
Please feel free to reach out to us should you have any needs, questions or concerns.
- The FRCE talks to Fire Chief Keith Johnson of Loudoun County, V.A., Fire Chief Tammy Snow of Wichita, K.S., and Fire Chief John Oates of East Hartford, C.T. about how they are dealing with health & wellness during the current pandemic – see video here
- The FRCE recently sat down with Vickie Taylor, LCSW, Director of the Prince William County Public Safety Resilience Center and Patricia Watson, Ph.D. from the National Center for PTSD to discuss some strategies in dealing with children during the pandemic – see video here
- Captain Frank Leto FDNY Counseling Support Unit shares some things they are doing to help their members – see video here
- For some specific tools from our Stress First Aid Program Coordinators please see Promoting Well-Being During the COVID-19 Outbreak and Improving First Responder Well-Being During the COVID-19 Outbreak.
PTSD: National Center for PTSD
Managing Stress Associated with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak Practical steps you can take to deal with stress reactions
Helpful Thinking During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak Outlines common unhelpful thoughts and feelings related to disease outbreaks and more helpful thoughts that could lead to feeling better
Strategies for Families to Adapt to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Learn strategies you can use to help your family adapt, cope, and build resilience during the pandemic.
Mobile App: COVID Coach This free mobile app is designed to help you build resilience, manage stress, and increase your well-being during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic with tools to help you stay connected, work from home, navigate parenting or caregiving, and stay healthy while sheltering in place.
Grief: Different Reactions and Timelines After a Loss Learn about common grief reactions and stages of loss as well as prolonged or complicated grief.
Grief: Taking Care of Yourself After a Loss Learn Strategies to increase self-care while grieving a loss.
Intimate Partner Violence At a time when tension is high, the risks of intimate partner violence can increase. Learn about domestic violence and resources for assistance.
Tips for Providing Support to Others During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak Tips on how to show care and empathy for someone during a difficult time.
Grief: Helping Someone Else After a Loss Learn Strategies to support someone grieving a loss.
Helping People Manage Stress Associated with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak Five key principles for health care providers, community leaders, and others concerned with the psychological welfare of the public.
Self-help and Coping Strategies Find out what to expect after a trauma and about self-help tools that can help you manage stress reactions.
How Can I Help? Learn about how you can help family and friends, including information on effective treatments for PTSD.
For Health Care Workers and Responders
For Mental Health Providers: Working with Patients Affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak Tips for talking with patients about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and treatment considerations, including a stress management framework.
Treating PTSD During the COVID-19 Virus Outbreak A recorded webinar from the PTSD Consultation Program Monthly Lecture Series (March, 2020).
Moral Injury Describes moral injury, the relationship between moral injury and PTSD, and assessment and treatment consideration.
Managing Health Care Workers’ Stress Associated with the COVID-19 Virus Outbreak Support and self-care strategies for people who work in health care.
How Mental Health Providers Can Care for Themselves and Support Colleagues During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak A recorded webinar from the PTSD Consultation Program Monthly Lecture Series (April, 2020).
Provider Self-Care Toolkit Offers resources to help mental health care providers manage self-care.
For Leaders: Supporting Your Staff During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Tips to help employers to support staff in the workplace over time (e.g., early and extended recommendations), including sample communication language.
For Leaders: Helping Employees in the Aftermath of Loss Tips to help leaders support grieving employees through communication, flexibility and workplace policies.
Health & Fitness Resources
- Paul McCullough & Dr. Jess Harmon – Developing Resilience to Overcome Stress – Listen to the Podcast
- O2X Specialist Conversations – Control the Controllables – Hear O2X Specialist Dr. Maria Urso and O2X team members and firefighters, Justin Herzog and Chris Warden, talk about how to handle changes in routine and tips and tricks for navigating uncertain times brought on by COVID19. In the conversation, they discuss nutrition, building healthy routines, and the importance of sleep as well as how to control the controllables in these unprecedented times.
- How First Responders Are Handling COVID19 – Control the Controllables by Justin Herzog
- Stress Response & Breathing with The Nortons – Hear about how breathing, yoga, and iRest yoga nidra has helped O2X Specialist and veteran combat photojournalist, Janel Norton, and firefighter, Ray Norton, reduce stress and maintain readiness on and off the job.
- O2X Go Bag Poster_COVID_Final – Tools to help you stay healthy while battling an invisible enemy
- “Do’s and Don’ts” to Maintain Your Immunity – For some great tips on nutrition “Do’s and Don’ts” please take a look at this piece by Maria Urso, PhD and our friends at O2X.
- Together in Isolation: Coping While We Face the Coronavirus – While many of you are working extended shifts, your spouse may be at home for extended periods of time with the kids. We’d like to share a letter from O2X Human Performance Specialist and Resilience Expert, Maria Trozzi on strategies families, caregivers and individuals can utilize at home.
- O2X Training on the Road – It is important to maintain a level of fitness. Please see the this workout plan that can be implemented anywhere with no additional equipment.
- O2X Specialist Conversations – Round-table on Routines And Healthy Habits – Join a round-table discussion about building routines and creating healthy habits. This panel includes O2X Nutrition Specialist Rachele Pojednic, O2X Mental Performance Specialist Pete Kadushin, and O2X Injury Prevention Specialist Bruce Stockton.
- Hit The Reset Button – Stress Reduction Strategies – A Conversation with Annie Okerlin – O2X Specialist, Annie Okerlin, shared a conversation with O2X Director of Education, Ali Levy. Hear about using iRest Yoga Nidra and breathing exercises to reduce stress and improve your ability to perform at your peak, on and off the job, during times of heightened stress. (Interview recorded March 26, 2020).
For more info from O2X please visit 02X
- Check out this fitness program 555 Fitness LeanFit Level 1 that does not require any equipment from our friends at 555 Fitness. You can find more programs on their website https://www.555fitness.org/.
CSTS/Department of Psychiatry/Uniformed Services University
Mental Health and Behavioral Guidelines for Preparedness and Response to Coronavirus and other Emerging Infectious Outbreaks Community response to outbreaks is governed by perception of risk (not actual risk) with a variety of factors impacting community distress…
Coronavirus Preparedness & Response: Critical Elements for Business Planning …pandemic planning must address the extreme health and mental health impact assumptions and containment strategies projected for a severe pandemic.
Leaders’ Guide to Risk Communication in the Face of Coronavirus and Other Emerging Public Health Threats Community members can be best prepared through timely, accurate, and updated public health education information, which is best delivered using effective, ongoing risk communication.
Psychological Effects of Quarantine During the Coronavirus Outbreak: What Public Health Leaders Need to Know While quarantine can broadly serve the public good, it is also associated with psychological challenges for those quarantined, their loved ones, and the healthcare workers caring for them.
Prolonged Operations in Personal Protective Equipment During COVID-19: Recommendations for Workers and Managers Promote a culture in which anxiety reactions are expected and managed, where it is “okay to not be okay.”
Grief Leadership During COVID-19 Understanding people’s reactions to the losses associated with tragic events informs the roles that leaders can play in support of recovery.
When Family Members are Hospitalized due to COVID-19 These hospitalizations can be extremely challenging not only for patients, but also for families who might experience distress due to uncertainty about a loved one’s recovery, and also due to personal risk of contracting the disease.
Taking Care of Your Family During Coronavirus and Other Emerging Infectious Disease Outbreaks ….the best way to protect one’s family is through staying informed, practicing good basic hygiene and preventative measures, engaging in strategies to help manage stress, and learning ways to involve your children in family health care.
Tips For Coping When Quarantines with COVID-19 Family Members There isn’t a “right way” to manage in these circumstances. Do what works for you and your family.
Managing Family Conflict While Home During COVID-19: Intimate Partners The sudden increase in time spent together within a common living space can promote “family togetherness”, but also possible stress and resulting conflict between intimate partners.
Finding the Right Words to Talk with Children and Teens about Coronavirus Help children of all ages understand basic information about what the coronavirus is and why it is currently such an important topic.
Discussing Coronavirus with Your Children When parents feel calm and clear in their own understanding, it is easier to be calm and clear when explaining tough topics to children.
Helping Homebound Children during the COVID-19 Outbreak The lifestyle changes may also contribute to social isolation from peers and teachers, anxiety, and tension among family members due to a lack of personal space at home.
National Child Traumatic Stress Network Resources
There is a great deal of economic uncertainty during these times. Please see the following fact sheets from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network that may be useful:
Stress Management Skills
- Practice breathing in and out through your nose
- Breathe in for 5 seconds, hold for a second, and breathe out for as many seconds as you can (slowly)
PROGRESSIVE MUSCLE RELAXATION
- Tense a group of muscles on the in-breath, relax those muscles on the out-breath
FIVE SENSES ACTIVITY (grounding in the present moment)
- Name 5 things you can SEE
- Name 4 things you can FEEL
- Name 3 things you can HEAR
- Name 2 things you can SMELL
- Name 1 thing you can TASTE
STRUCTURE YOUR DAYS
Each day should include a combination of activities that are:
Scheduled (schedules help us feel more in control; set and follow a daily schedule)
Active (walking, running, stretching)
Necessary (eating, bathing, cleaning, laundry, home repairs)
Interactive (call friends/family; Facetime; email)
Technology-Free (spend some time every day ‘unplugged’)
Yourself (do solitary activities that you enjoy)
Behavioral Health – NORMALIZE
Firefighters are on the front lines of the Global COVID-19 pandemic. Increased stress and worry are to be expected. Facing the COVID-19 crisis by living through it, working through it, or facing self-isolation or quarantine can exacerbate negative thoughts and feelings. Please check out this great tip from our friend Anka A. Vujanovic, Ph.D. from University of Houston.
It is important to remember to:
Name the people you love and practice gratitude.
Organize your schedule.
Restructure negative thinking patterns (e.g., Is my thinking reality- or anxiety-based?).
Manage difficult emotions.
Accept difficult emotions, knowing they are normal and will pass.
Listen to yourself and others (validate and do not be harsh).
Identify coping skills that work.
Zero in on things that you can control.
Elaborate on positive memories, experiences, and future plans.
Relationship Stress and COVID The global COVID-19 crisis is taking a toll on even the strongest relationships.
Alcohol and COVID The COVID-19 pandemic is proving to be one of the most prolonged and serious stressors facing our first responders in almost a century.
What About the Kids?
If your kids have been home from school for a few weeks, the novelty of their early spring break has probably worn off. While many schools are developing online curriculum there have been challenges with implementation. While actual books are probably preferred, our education consultant, recommends audible books as an alternative This site has age appropriate books for all reading levels K-12.
Orangetheory, is a science-backed, technology-tracked, coach-inspired group workout designed to produce results from the inside out. While you can’t go to one of their studios right now, they are posting daily workouts anyone can do at the station or home with everyday items.
05.01.20 At Home Workout
05.02.20 At Home Workout
05.03.20 At Home Workout
05.04.20 At Home Workout