ERLANGER, Ky. — The Cincinnati Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) Fire Department hosted the second annual Brain and Body Health Symposium for first responders at the St. Elizabeth Training and Education Center. 

What You Need To Know

  • The Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) Fire Department hosted its second annual Brain and Body Health Symposium

  • The event provided resources to first responders 

  • Events happen on the job that could impact mental health and wellness of first responders

First responders told Spectrum News 1 it’s important to discuss the issues they face daily and to shine a light on mental health and the resources available to Emergency Medical Services workers.

“That way we can help break down the stigma and help change the culture when it comes to mental health and making sure people realize it’s okay to not be okay and be able to speak up when you have problems,” coordinator Phillip Hall said.

Thomas Wells is the chief of police for the Springdale, Ohio police department. He’s been an officer for over 34 years. He says a lot can happen when a person is a first responder.

Wells said, “Whether it’s people that are abusing other people, whether it’s terrible car accidents, whether it’s young people that died at an early age—there’s just a myriad of different things that effect us as human beings that we see every day that most people don’t see.”

In 2020, his department had an officer die in the line of duty. Wells said the death of Officer Kaia Grant, led Wells and the department to look into focusing on how traumatic events from work can impact a person.

At the symposium, first responders could look into resources available to them in the greater Cincinnati region. Attendees also got the chance to listen to speakers discussing everything from peer support, addiction, and more.

It’s an event Wells gladly attended.

“Seeing this growing just really makes me feel good about the future of first responder wellness,” Wells said.

Retirement is in Wells’ future and he wants to use what he learned at the symposium to help shine a light on first responder wellness.

“What I’d like to do is continue to be a voice to basically explain to other police leaders why it’s so important to have different programs that give employees different access to the assistance that’s out there as well as to help them deal with situations of critical instances like line of duty death because when it happens it’s like a tsunami,” he added.

The symposium organizers say they hope to continue to share details about wellness resources.