Join married Sheriff Deputies Shawn and Jeff Thomas and I as we discuss mental health, peer support, and wellness amongst first responders. They created First Responder Conferences and have been gaining momentum since its inception in 2016. Shawn Thomas has been a deputy for the King County Sheriff’s Office in Seattle, WA for 21 years. She is married to a deputy and has two teenage boys. She currently is an explosive detection K9 handler and is a team leader for her peer support team. Shawn also volunteers with two non-profit organizations, Code 4 NW and Blue H.E.L.P.
Jeff Thomas is a 30 year veteran of the King County Sheriff’s Office, which includes an 18 year stint as a member of the entry unit on the county SWAT team. Jeff has held several training positions within the sheriff’s office to include Field Training Officer, Firearms Instructor, State qualified Swat instructor, Motor Instructor, as well as a Taser Instructor. He also was a member of the King County Honor Guard for 16 years. He is co-founder of First Responder Conferences, along with his wife, Deputy Shawn Thomas.
In 2016 Shawn and Jeff founded 1st Responder Conferences and organized their first health and wellness conference in Seattle for first responders and their families. The reason for the conference was to focus on first responder’s mental health and wellness and to convey three things.
1. You are not alone
2. Reach out for help if you are struggling
3. To provide confidential resources for first responders to get the help they need.
The conference was well received and first responders reached out for help. It was clear that this type of event needed to continue to help others. Shawn and Jeff were asked by other agencies to bring the conference to other states, so they did.
In two short year’s they have organized 10 mental health and wellness conferences around the country and have 6 upcoming conferences scheduled. 1st Responder Conferences’ partners with Code 4 NW and Blue H.E.L.P. Together these three organizations are working together and helping first responders and their families all over the country.
1st Responder Conferences is committed to the emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being of the public safety work force and work with leaders in the public safety profession to make this possible. We recognize that first responders are our greatest asset and we feel it is our responsibility to create a climate that supports good health and resiliency.
We are dedicated to promoting awareness surrounding the difficulties of public safety professionals and inspiring conversations that minimize the stigma associated with the stresses our first responder’s experience. Through our conferences’ we provide education and resources for agencies, individuals, and family members who find themselves faced with a personal crisis. Our mission is to improve the quality of life for all of those who dedicate themselves to protecting and serving others.
Join Indianapolis firefighter Bandon Dreiman and and I as we discuss the state of mental health for first responders and all of the work being done to break down the walls of stigma.Brandon Dreiman, JD, EMT-P, is a 17-year veteran of the Indianapolis Fire Department where he serves as the Coordinator for the IFD Peer Support Program. He is also an IAFF Peer Support Master Instructor and travels the United States and Canada lecturing on behavioral health topics and assisting fire departments with creating peer support teams.
Join the leaders at this show’s sponsor, Stepstone Connect, as we discuss the psychology of super heroes. Such a deep and fascinating conversation about the parallels between fictional super heroes like Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk and real life heroes such as fireman and cops. These two professionals certainly left me with a deeper understanding of mental illness, coping mechanisms, and treatment of trauma. You don’t wanna miss this one!!!
Join Kristin Walker, CEO of The Mental Health News Radio Network, and I as we discuss the topic of narcissism. Every day my social media news feed is filled with articles and content related to this topic so I figured we would change it up and discuss this buzz worthy term and explore its meaning and origins.
Former New Jersey paramedic Stephen Kavalkovich nearly died from a heroin overdose before finding recovery from drug addiction and mental illness. This journey led to his current role as host of Mental Health News Radio Network podcast Rescue the Rescuer. Rescue the Rescuer sheds light on the mental and emotional stresses faced by police officers, fire fighters, soldiers, EMS providers and other first responders, stresses which can lead to mental illnesses such as PTSD and addiction problems.