As a first responder, we have hundreds of lessons on how to save lives, but no lessons on how to go on living.” – Robert Seeburger, Battalion Fire Chief, City of Bayonne Fire Department

In March, professionals from NATAL traveled to New Jersey to complete the 3rd cohort of resiliency trainings with New Jersey First responders . The training is part of a three-year partnership with the Urban Area Security Initiative of New Jersey, under the Department of Homeland Security.

As part of this pioneering collaboration, NATAL is drawing from 20 years of experience and the training of over 30,000 first responders, mental health professionals and educators in Israel, to provide training to those on the frontline in New Jersey.

Tailored to meet the needs of New Jersey’s first responders, this program helps prevent personal and professional burnout, while providing coping and decision-making tools to use in stressful situations.

The role of a first responder is critical and life-saving and often requires showing strength in times of great struggle, which may take an invisible yet impactful toll. While first responders are trained to help others, they are often untrained in identifying those who suffer the emotional repercussion of their work. The program aims to significantly improve the professional self-efficacy measure while reducing the level of secondary traumatization and compassion fatigue.

“What sets this program apart is that it is a proactive approach to dealing with the emotional stresses… Stress not only comes from our acute exposure to a major incident, but also our chronic exposure to many smaller incidents over time. This fully encompassing method helps manage stress that responders may be experiencing in their home lives as well. This approach has been proven to lessen the impact of future exposures to stress.” – Firefighter Michael J. Somma, Engine Company 9 – Group C, CISM Team Coordinator

Program Highlights include: Introduction to Resilience, Detecting and Coping with Stress, Professional and Personal Stress – Finding Balance, Teamwork and Peer Support, Operational Stress Management: Overcoming cognitive biases, making better decisions

“I wish I would have taken this program 20 years ago, because if I would have, my life would have been very different.” – Michael Jackson, Firefighter, Linden New Jersey