The First Responders Wellness Center offers the confidential wellness visits/"mental health screenings" per "Public Act 101-652" of the SAFE-T Act that are suggested for all police department members starting January 2022.
A ‘wellness visit’ is a 45 or 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 visit is not intended to screen for a mental health diagnosis or disorder. The wellness visit 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 visit 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 outside of the wellness visits. Any additional sessions would be at the cost of the individual employee utilizing their own insurance or payment methods and is 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 a mental health professionals are confidential except in the following circumstance, as required by law:
1) An employee is deemed an immediate threat to themselves or another. Even in this situation, the clinician will take time to assess the threat; 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, Lincolnshire/Deerfield, or Chicago.
The First Responders Wellness Center has 11 staff members that are all current or former first responders, family of first responders, or professional who worked directly with first responders that could accommodate seeing employees at different days and times M-F from 8 am to 8 pm or Saturday from 9-2 pm.
Is the wellness check confidential to the member?
The member who is completing the wellness visit does have confidentiality of the content of what is discussed during the time. The only information that is shared with the department is the date and time of attendance to the wellness check. Nothing else will be shared with the department.
What if a department member appears to need additional mental health treatment during the wellness visit?
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 or center. 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.
What is the department member does not talk?
We feel confident that we can build rapport with members of police and public safety community. We have not had issues with this since we have started in 2015 and find that most members are very talkative. We also give handouts, ask questions, and the member has a choice of what they would like to discuss.