Free Training Offered for Providing Support to First Responders

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Mental Health and Recovery Boards of Trumbull and Mahoning counties will host free training for mental health professionals.  

Michelle Werth, clinical director at the Mahoning County Mental Health and Recovery Board, and Katie Cretella, clinical director at the Trumbull County Mental Health and Recovery Board, serve as the coordinators of the Mahoning Valley Critical Incident and Stress Management team. 

“CISM provides critical incident debriefings to emergency first responders after exposure to a traumatic event,” Cretella said.

A volunteer-based team composed of licensed mental health professionals and first responder peers help first responders process events and use positive coping skills after a traumatic event.

CISM debriefings and surveys of more than 30 first responders in the Valley showed an apparent need for further training for mental health professionals on the first responder perspective, according to a news release.

“Fear of losing their job or being placed on leave” and “ensuring confidentiality” were the top reasons reported for not seeking mental health treatment. Those who have never received mental health treatment reported that “not feeling understood” and “a lack of connection with the therapist” keep them from seeking help.

Werth and Cretella partnered with local first responders as part of an advisory committee that assisted in developing the curriculum for all-day training for mental health professionals and peers who are interested in working with first responders.

Many first responders are veterans, which is a component that has been included in the training. The training will focus on first responder cultures and how to adapt the clinical approach to meet their specific needs.

For the purpose of the training, first responders are individuals who work as dispatchers, law enforcement officers, correctional officers, firefighters and emergency medical personnel. 

Training will be held from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sept. 22 at the Trumbull Metropolitan Housing Authority. 

For more information, call Werth at 330 746 2959, ext. 7976, or Cretella at 330 675 2765, ext. 117.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.