Coping with stress, building mental resiliency
Children of first responders face unique challenges due to the high stress and unpredictable nature of their parents’ work. They often grapple with mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. The constant worry for their parent’s safety, coupled with irregular schedules and absences, disrupts their sense of routine and stability.
These children also bear the weight of hearing stories of loss and danger, particularly if they have lost a parent in the line of duty. Addressing their emotional struggles and providing dedicated support is crucial.
Specialized resources to meet a unique set of challenges
Recognizing the unique emotional burdens carried by children of first responders, we added a new mental health Resiliency program. At FRCF, we understand the importance of supporting families and helping children navigate these ongoing stressors. That’s why we offer free and confidential short-term counseling with licensed, trauma-based mental health professionals. Because they are culturally competent and specialize in working with children of first responders, these skilled professionals understand the specific needs of first responder children. Our confidential counseling sessions provide a safe space for children to express their concerns and seek help.
Whether in person or through virtual sessions, counselors are available in multiple states, including New York, New Jersey, California, Texas, Tennessee and Florida. Alongside counseling, we have started to provide access to a range of wellness resources to further support emotional well-being and mental resiliency in first responder children.
By addressing the mental health needs of children in first responder families, we are creating a brighter future for these young individuals. Together, let’s ensure they receive the support they deserve and help them thrive in spite of the challenges they face.
The Resiliency program is an important addition to our growing roster of programs. Within seven months of its launch in May 2022 through years end, the program provided 93 children in six states with more than 600 hours of counseling. Given the first responder family need and the mental health crisis still affecting the entire country, our plan is to expand this program as quickly as possible. FRCF estimates there are at least one million additional first responder children in need around the country.
“When personal matters are supported, our first responders are able to come to work with a state of mind allowing them to better handle the high stress demands of being a public servant.”
—Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore
“Through the Resiliency Program, LAFD members will be giving their children the best gift – getting them the help they need to cope with stress, manage their fears and build mental resilience.”
—Los Angeles City Fire Chief Kristin Crowley
Mabel Jesse | FRCF Scholarship recipient
Mabel shared the inspiring experience she has with our Resiliency program. Initially hesitant about getting assistance through the program, Mabel reached out and was then connected with a dedicated therapist.
In a heartfelt interview, she expressed deep gratitude for the program, describing it as truly life changing. She believes that more people should be aware of this resource and its transformative impact. Mabel’s testimony exemplifies our Resiliency program’s impact on the lives of first responder families.
“I don’t honestly know how I would’ve gotten through the past few months without this program.”