Expanding our support for first responder health & wellness
September 23, 2021
There’s a mental health crisis facing our nation’s first responder community. The rates of PTSD, depression and anxiety among public safety personnel far exceed the rates of the general population. By its very nature, emergency response is stressful. This is the norm. And there are very real mental health impacts to those who serve our communities.
Earlier this year, we established the FirstNet Health & Wellness Coalition to coordinate how we support holistic health and wellness of first responders. And now we’ve announced another collaboration with The Quell Foundation, which provides more resources to help first responders who struggle with mental health.
The Quell Foundation strives to reduce the number of suicides, overdoses, and the incarceration of people living with a mental health illness. FirstNet has underwritten the development of Foundation’s first responder mental health preparedness and training program, the 9/11 Ride of Hope and its upcoming documentary "Lift the Mask - First Responders Sound the Alarm.”
The 9/11 Ride of Hope was a 5-day cycling journey to honor those suffering from the physical and emotional exposures associated with 9/11 and its aftermath. Each mile of the journey between One World Trade Center in NYC and the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., stopping by fire stations along the route, paid respect to those who lost their lives and demonstrates the Foundation’s commitment to the mental health of the first responder, emergency response, government agency and military communities.
The event culminated with the national premiere of the documentary on Sept. 10 and a wreath-laying ceremony at the Pentagon on the 20th anniversary of 9/11. The film provides insight into the lives and experiences of the first responder community, their families, and the lives they touch through their day-to-day activities.
Nothing is more important than the lives of first responders and the people they serve day in, and day out. These are the men and women who run toward emergencies and we understand the service first responders provide to our communities does not come without personal sacrifice and burdens.
We recently sat down with Kevin Lynch of The Quell Foundation and Coalition Executive Board Member John Flynn to further discuss the importance of mental health and wellbeing among first responders. The article appeared in The New York Times.
Our support of first responder health and wellness continues to grow based on needs of the public safety community.
- This summer, we launched FirstNet ROG the Dog - animal assisted therapy to support public safety on the front lines. Affectionately named after the FirstNet Response Operations Group (ROG) – the team led by former first responders that guides the deployment of the FirstNet fleet of dedicated deployable network assets – ROG the Dog is a fleet of trained Labradoodles that specialize in animal assisted therapy for first responders. Agencies on FirstNet can request a therapy dog in the same way they request a network asset from the FirstNet fleet. And just like the fleet, the dogs are available at no additional charge.
- We’ve collaborated with Boulder Crest Foundation and their First Responder Initiative in Miami, Florida to develop and deliver transformative Posttraumatic Growth-based training programs designed to enhance the wellbeing of first responders. The initiative begins with a pilot in Miami, creating innovative partnerships with major police and fire rescue departments.
- FirstNet and O2X Human Performance are also collaborating on a program that brings health, wellness and resilience training workshops to first responders in 5 cities across Florida, Colorado, Minnesota, Arizona and Ohio.
- We’re supporting Blue Help, National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians and University of Chicago Crime Lab to develop and underwrite additional programs, tools and resources to support the health and well-being of first responders.
- Last fall we launched a collaboration with All Clear Foundation to help increase the accessibility of education, resources and support that will aid first responders who may be struggling with health wellness challenges brought on by the unique stressors of their jobs.
- For the past two years, we’ve sponsored the IACP Officer Safety & Wellness symposiums which focus on improving officer safety and wellness to enhance the health and effectiveness of officers, as well as the safety of the community.
- And, we’ve added more health and wellness apps to the FirstNet App Catalog.
Four years ago, the federal government selected AT&T to enter into a public-private partnership to build and manage public safety’s network. And when we set out on this historic and critical initiative, we committed to Be There for America’s first responders. We’re going beyond our commitment to the federal government with the Coalition to coordinate how we support holistic health and wellness of first responders.
The Coalition is integrating responder, community, industry and academic capabilities to support the health, wellness and readiness of America’s first responders. We’re focused on collaborating with organizations to support healthy, well and resilient first responders that are ready to support public safety at a moment’s notice. The Coalition serves as the backbone to everything we do to support the health and wellbeing of first responders.
We believe FirstNet is the most important wireless network in the country because it’s serving our first responders and the extended public safety community. And we have a responsibility unlike any other wireless carrier to deliver for America’s first responders. Shaped by the vision of the first responder community and Congress following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, FirstNet stands above commercial offerings. It is built with AT&T in public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) – an independent agency within the federal government.
The FirstNet network is providing public safety with truly dedicated coverage and capacity when they need it, unique benefits like always-on priority and preemption for first responders, and high-quality Band 14 spectrum. These advanced capabilities help fire, EMS, healthcare workers and law enforcement save lives and protect their communities.
Just as FirstNet is built for and by first responders, we want to be there to support the health and well-being of those who serve their communities every day.