OHIO — Gov. Mike DeWine announced $1.3 million will go toward three statewide programs aimed to support the wellness of first responders in Ohio.
The allocation is part of the state's new First Responder Recruitment, Retention and Resilience Program, which focuses on wellness concerns of law enforcement officers, firefighters, paramedics, dispatchers and more.
“It's the job of our first responders to care for others, but they must also care for themselves, and having easy access to confidential support is important," DeWine wrote in a press release. "From crime scenes to house fires to medical emergencies, our first responders face tragic circumstances on a regular basis, and the programs we're funding today will help these brave men and women with the trauma they experience as a result."
The three programs receiving the funds and their amounts are:
- Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation, which will receive a grant of $593,950 to train first responder personnel in the evidence-based "Question, Persuade, Refer" suicide prevention curriculum to help them recognize the warning signs, risk factors, and situations that may cause someone to have suicidal thoughts.
- First Responders' Bridge, which will receive a grant of $455,000 to offer free, confidential retreats for Ohio first responders and their significant others who are experiencing depression, anxiety and/or post-traumatic stress from tragedies and other stressors experienced on the job
- Ohio ASSIST, which will receive a grant of $363,010 to conduct post-critical-incident seminars that address the mental wellness of Ohio's first responder community. The programming will focus on mindfulness and resilience.
DeWine said more grant applications are under review.
The Ohio First Responder Recruitment, Retention, and Resilience Program is administered by the Ohio Emergency Management Agency. It will offer approximately $75 million in funding for initiatives that support wellness programs addressing mental, physical and emotional health issues unique to first responders, according to DeWine.