Who are first responders?

The term “first responder” can refer to anyone trained to respond in an emergency. Common examples of first responders include, but are not limited to, law enforcement, paramedics, EMTs, and firefighters.

First responders have a vital role in protecting our community and ensuring our wellbeing. First responders may witness critical incidents throughout their careers, and repeated exposures to traumatic events can have a large impact on their mental health increasing risk for depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance use, and suicide.

Constant exposure to these traumatic or life threatening events, accompanied by the stress of working long hours from family members, can easily have a large impact on mental health.

  • Police officers and firefighters are more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty.
  • 85% of first responders have experienced symptoms related to mental health conditions. 
  • Depression and PTSD are up to 5 times more common in first responders.

While first responders have been trained to engage in extreme conditions and often offered debriefing sessions through their department, there are times where a more comprehensive treatment team and/or longer-term services are encouraged and seen as beneficial. 

Pillars of Wellness partners with local law enforcement to help provide comprehensive services to aid in protecting mental health. These services can include:

Outpatient therapy services for individuals in these occupations can address key components including:

  • Promoting healthy self care practices; adequate sleep, balanced nutrition, exercise, and building social support.
  • Stress Management
  • Guarding against burnout
  • Processing traumatic experiences through trauma informed care
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Grief and loss

Resource Kit



Fire/EMS Helpline


Code Green Campaign Programs


Safe Call Now

206-459-3020 (available 24/7)


Be Well Indiana



988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline Call

9-8-8 (available 24/7)


EMS District Managers


Indiana State Police Department

Staff Chaplain Daniel Coffey

317-234-4637 or dcoffey@isp.in.gov