The First Responders Wellness Center offers the confidential wellness checks/"mental health screenings" per "Public Act 101-652" of the SAFE-T Act that are mandated for all police department members starting January 2022.
A ‘wellness check’ is a 55 minute one-on one session with a licensed mental health professional to discuss an employee’s current abilities to cope with job stressors and to learn additional healthy ways to deal with these and future stressors. The wellness check is not a fitness for duty evaluation and is not a form of punishment. The wellness check is individualized training and is considered an officer safety course as there are still more first responders that commit suicide then get killed in the line of duty. The wellness check is not intended to screen for a mental health diagnosis or disorder. The wellness check offers an opportunity for an employee to discuss coping strategies and solutions to deal with the various stressors of being a first responder as well as be given psychoeducation about individual mental health wellness.
The wellness check is usually completed yearly, and the cost is covered by the department or county agency. However, if an employee would want additional sessions with a mental health professional they would be offered to be seen by a First Responder Wellness Center mental health professional or would be given referrals to other mental health professionals. These additional sessions would be at the cost of the individual employee utilizing their own insurance or payment and not covered by the department or county.
The only information that is shared with the department or county would be the employee’s name and attendance date. All conversations shared with the mental health professionals are confidential except in the following circumstance, as is required by law:
1) An employee is deemed an immediate threat to themselves or another 2) An employee discloses that they are abusing a child, elderly or disabled person.
The First Responders Wellness Center would be willing to conduct the wellness checks at a confidential location at your facility or one of our offices in Lombard or Mount Prospect.
The First Responders Wellness Center has 6 staff members that are all current or former first responders that could each accommodate seeing employees at different days and times.
What if a department member appears to need additional mental health treatment during the wellness check?
The therapist will recommend therapy but it is up to the department member themselves to determine if they want to go. They also can choose whomever they want to see as a clinician. The department will not be notified of any possible recommendations during the wellness check.
If a department member wants to come to therapy, is the department notified?
No, the department will not be notified, this will be confidential between the clinician and the department member. The First Responders Wellness Center clinicians can see the member or they can choose whomever they want.