HEALTH

How first responders get help after horrific crimes

Jan 5, 2023, 4:10 PM | Updated: Jan 6, 2023, 11:44 am

SALT LAKE CITY — With recent tragedies like the supposed murder-suicide in Enoch, Utah, it takes a mental toll on everyone in the community — including local law enforcement.

It’s something that worries Rachel Lucynski, who reminds people that first responders are also human and experience the pain of these tragedies.

“They don’t always get the chance to take time for themselves and process what they experience before they have to respond to the next call, or need in our community,” Lucynski said.

Lucynski is the Director of Community Crisis intervention at the Huntsman Mental Health Institute. She said once all of this slows down, maybe even before, first responders will need some support.

“The reality is that mental health impacts every single person; each and every one of us,” Lucynski explains.

She said a piece of the SAFE UT app is aimed at helping frontline workers, allowing them to start a conversation anytime.

“We’ve seen not just stigma but really discrimination around the mental health field and people viewing any mental health challenges as a sign of weakness or that something’s wrong with you,” Lucynski said.

But Lucynski said it’s not a weakness. These challenges, to say the least, are not easy to deal with or comprehend.

“We recognize that it takes the entire community, everyone looking out for each other, to recognize warning signs,” she said.

And whether you’re a part of Enoch or any community, you can play a part in pointing someone toward help.

“This doesn’t impact people’s jobs. It doesn’t make someone weak. It’s something that can really help build that mental strength and that mental resilience to go back out there and do the life-saving work that they do for our community each and every day,” Lucynski explains.

The Fraternal Order of Police offers four sessions of mental health support for all law enforcement in Utah, up to eight for members. The order is looking to re-working some of that support for rural areas, allowing more forms of help, like equestrian therapy.

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How first responders get help after horrific crimes