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The First H.E.L.P. Blog

#IWillListen 2022 Journal

Keep up with the hike schedule Day 1: New Hampshire Today is the first day of the 2022 #IWillListen Ruck Challenge and again, I’ll start with my home state of New Hampshire.  Shortly after moving to NH when I was nine years old we were remodeling our home and had...

My Dad, My Hero, Not Just Another Suicide

My Dad, My Hero, Not Just Another Suicide

“You’re blue family until someone doesn’t agree with the way they died.” I will never forget reading this line in an article a few years ago.  And I’ll never forget this excerpt from my dad’s suicide note.  “The sixth interview could be of [name...

EP 30: Dr. Calvin Paries – The Truth About EAP #BT1R

In this episode of Beyond the 1st Response, Christy and Robyn talk to Calvin Paries, DR, PH, LMFT, CEAP, who oversees a Profile EAP for Centura Health. The Myth About EAP "Why would you call the EAP? Now HR is going to know that you are struggling." This is often a...

Healing Through Trauma Symposium

You are not alone. Concord, NH - On 4 November, 2022 Christy Lister Presented "Protecting Both Sides of the Badge" at Healing Through Trauma Symposium. Discovering you are not alone was taken to an all-new level on November 4th, 2022. First Responders Coaching and The...

EP 29: Robert Swiderski – 22 Districts 49 Hours #BT1R

EP 29: Robert Swiderski – 22 Districts 49 Hours #BT1R

EP 29: Robert Swiderski- 22 Districts 48 hours #BT1R In this episode of Beyond the 1st Response, Christy and Robyn talk to Robert Swiderski. The son of a Chicago Police officer who saw the effects of living in a first responder home, he started Running for Blue Lives...

EP 27: Danny McGuire – Built to Serve #BT1R

In this episode of Beyond the 1st Response, Christy and Robyn talk to retired Chicago police Sgt Danny McGuire Jr. Now a professor at Calumet College and intern therapist at Augustine Wellness Center, he hosts his own podcast, Everyday Warriors. Support Danny wants to...

EP 26: Debbie Green – Quiet No More #BT1R

In this episode of Beyond the 1st Response Christy and Robyn talk to Debbie Green, a retired Public Safety Dispatcher 2 who wants to let everyone know the time has come to not stay quiet about mental health. The Headset Debbie admits that she would often picture the...

EP 25: Tracy Vitalo-Harwell – Shift That Space #BT1R

In this episode of Beyond the 1st Response, Christy and Robyn talk to Tracy Vitalo-Harwell CPH-T, from Inspired Change Hypnosis and Coaching about how hypnosis can “shift that space” and how it helps first responders. What Happened To You When You Were A Child? It...

CA Firefighter Memorial Ceremony 2022

The Mikel Family along with Alameda County Fire Department members and Honor Guard at CA Firefighter Memorial 2022 Honor To say our weekend at the CA Firefighter Memorial Ceremony was filled with many emotions would be an understatement. From anxiousness and...

EP 23: Jim Marshall – Just Roll With It #BT1R

In this episode of Beyond the 1st Response, Christy and Robyn talk with Jim Marshall, CEO of 911 Training Institute.  Just Jump Right In Jim Marshall has a fantastic insight into what is happening inside our heads. With a Masters in Psychology and years of counseling...

Suicide to be Recognized for Federal Death Benefits

Friends and Families,   Today we received the call we had been waiting for. H.R.6943 - Public Safety Officer Support Act of 2022 PASSED and is on its way to the President’s desk for signature. We have been proud to support and endorse this bill for the past three...

EP 20:  Crystal Street -Calls That Crack The Shield #BT1R

EP 20: Crystal Street -Calls That Crack The Shield #BT1R

In this episode of Beyond the 1st Response, Christy and Robyn talk with Dispatcher and First H.E.L.P. volunteer about being a first responder child and becoming a first responder herself.  North Hollywood Shootout February 28th, 1997 became a day that changed...

EP 19: Bob Barc –  Clearing the Rolodex

EP 19: Bob Barc –  Clearing the Rolodex

In this episode of Beyond the 1st Response, Christy and Robyn talk with Firefighter Bob Barc who has a passion for peer support and clearing the mental Rolodex. Mental Rolodex Bob started his firefighting career in a small town. The lessons started there along with...

EP 17: Keith Contant – We Are Talking And Growing #BT1R

In this episode of Beyond the 1st Response, Christy and Robyn discuss with retired Fireman/Police Officer, Keith Contant. Unknowingly providing peer support to members of his department, Keith has now taken it to a new level with his organization First Responder Peer...

Where are you Hiding?

Do you remember playing hide-and-seek? After the first game or two you know who you wanted to play with again, you know who was fun and who wasn’t. You knew who you could beat and who you couldn’t. In our childhood innocence, we didn’t want to play with the kid that...

EP 16: Matt Thornton – And Then..There Was A Sign #BT1R

In this episode of Beyond the 1st Response, Robyn and Christy have a discussion with Zion, IL Police Officer Matt Thornton. He talks about what it’s like to be working the very same streets on which he grew up. Thornton went from a cop in crisis to a cop in Christ,...

EP 15: Chris Moore – The Mental Bucket Trap #BT1R

EP 15: Chris Moore – The Mental Bucket Trap #BT1R

In this episode of Beyond the 1st Response, Robyn and Christy have a discussion with Chesapeake, VA Fire Captain Chris Moore about your mental bucket overflowing into a dark place. Chris opens up about his “mental bucket” overflowing and how he overcame this with the...

Police Week – Honoring Those We Lost

Police Week – Honoring Those We Lost

Police Week, a place of honor, camaraderie, and a wonderful tribute to the law enforcement profession. Established to honor all law enforcement "designated the week in recognition of the contribution the police officers of America have made to our civilization through...

#ResponderReadiness Training in Elyria, OH

#ResponderReadiness Training in Elyria, OH

FirstNet, Built with AT&T, teams with First H.E.L.P. to support First Responders in Lorain County with #ResponderReadiness Training ELYRIA, Ohio – Apr. 11, 2022 First H.E.L.P. (Honor, Educate, Lead and Prevent) and FirstNet®, Built with AT&T, are teaming up to...

EP 11: Nate Fisher – Firearm Malfunction #BT1R

Rolling Up on the Scene On this episode of Beyond the 1st Response, Robyn and Christy discuss what surviving a suicide attempt taught Nate Fisher, a retired police officer, active U.S National Guardsmen, and host of Surviving the Streets. Nate’s childhood dream was to...

Keeping your Composure in 5 minutes or Less

Keeping your Composure in 5 minutes or Less

Let's talk about keeping your composure in 5 minutes or Less. Maintaining focus in composure in volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) situations is an essential skill for first responders.  The thing is, when you’re about to respond to a call, you can’t...

EP 9: Ernie Stevens – Breathing Again #BT1R

EP 9: Ernie Stevens – Breathing Again #BT1R

On this episode of Beyond the 1st Response Robyn and Christy discuss the acronym G.E.B.Y. with Ernie Stevens from Crisis Cops. G.E.B.Y. is a mindfulness practice that helps first responders transition after retirement. Ernie Stevens is one of the now retired San...

A Journaling Workshop for First H.E.L.P. Team Members

A Journaling Workshop for First H.E.L.P. Team Members

Finding the Story Within - A Journaling Workshop.  On January 29th, First H.E.L.P. hosted Patricia Classon as part of our ongoing Team Member Professional Development Series for First H.E.L.P. Volunteers.  This two-hour workshop gave eleven...

Policing is a Strange Job.

Policing is a Strange Job.

Policing is a Strange Job. I was just walking into a restaurant to order lunch when I heard the call.  “Woman not breathing.” Then I heard the address.  Less than a mile away from me.  I took a moment to pause. I’m in a specialty unit.  I drive a patrol vehicle, and I...

#IWillListen ; #IWillTalk

#IWillListen ; #IWillTalk

The Invincible First Responder #IWillListen ; #IWillTalk #IWillListen ; #IWillTalk. The alert tone comes across the radio and dispatch announces that a criminal is in the street, carrying a fully automatic rifle and asking for you by name; or that a 50000 sq foot...

Responder Readiness Workshop – San Antonio, TX

Responder Readiness Workshop – San Antonio, TX

32-Hours of training made possible by FirstNet - Built with AT&T. San Antonio, TX - From January 10 - 12, Joe Willis and Steve Hough conducted a Responder Readiness Workshop hosted by Bexar County, Fire District 7. Denise Thompson, the District's Wellness Director...

If There Is No Wind, Row.

If there is no wind, row. (Latin Proverb) It sure is nice when there is wind, but when there isn’t we have two choices.  Sit dead in the water and await our fate hoping for another wind or choose to row.  The number of ways this proverb relates to First...

Talking to First Responders Stress and Burnout

Talking to First Responders Stress and Burnout

It's time we had a conversation about Talking to first responders stress and burnout. The stress and trauma first responders face every day becomes quite a heavy load to carry every day.  First responders have a greater likelihood of suicide, PTSD, insomnia and...

The Thin Line

September 11, 2021 It is popular amongst first responders to use thin colored lines usually displayed as flags or stickers to represent their chosen profession, but what do they mean and where did they come from? The first known use of a “Thin Line” reference was...

Speaking to Police Recruits in Joliet, IL

Speaking to Police Recruits in Joliet, IL

Joliet, IL - Christy Lister, the state representative for Blue H.E.L.P. Illinois is a frequent guest speaker for recruits. Christy lost her law enforcement husband, Kenneth Lister to suicide June of 2019 and is committed to saving other families from enduring what...

Axon Summer Camp

Axon Summer Camp

Los Angeles, CA - Steve Hough and Jeff McGill, co-founders of First H.E.L.P. provided the keynote address for Axon's Summer Camp.  Steve and Jeff offered insight to the Axon team on the physical and mental toll associated with officer involved shootings...

8 Ways to Observe No Brainer Day   

Here are 8 ways to observe No Brainer Day. No Brainer Day is one of those made up days that makes its way into the long list of mental health days each year. The founder of this day,  Adrienne Sioux Koopersmith suggested that one should stay calm and not stress...