KAUKAUNA — The Center for Suicide Awareness and the Medical College of Wisconsin are partnering to provide Master Resiliency Training to Wisconsin Emergency Medical Service workers.

This important 18 month project is made possible by a grant from the Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment Fund, according to a news release from the Center for Suicide Awareness.

EMS workers face stressful and traumatic situations every day with car accidents, drug overdoses, violent crimes, suicides, and other life-threatening situations. In addition, they are increasingly subject to physical and psychological violence directed toward them.

EMS workers are at higher risk of suicide, depression, and PTSD than the general population, according to studies. In addition, they often do not have time to process traumatic events.

When EMS workers are able to show up to work with the resiliency tools they need, there is sure to have a ripple effect throughout the healthcare system and the communities they serve. Resilience training is expected to have a threefold impact over the long term: 1) Reduce stress, depression, and suicide for Wisconsin EMS workers 2) Improve emergency medical service delivery in the field 3) Reduce EMS workforce turnover rates.

“We are honored and grateful for the opportunity to bring Resilience and Mental Health Wellness to our First Responders. Now more than ever has this become a critical issue that has gone unaddressed until now. This training brings impactful skill sets as well as self awareness to how the job of our First Responders takes a toll on their mental health. Our First Responders are there for us at a time of need – we now can give back and support them in their mission.” says Barb Bigalke, Founder and Executive Director at Center for Suicide Awareness.


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“Our team at the Medical College of Wisconsin together with our fantastic community partner the Center for Suicide Awareness are so excited to be awarded funding from the Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment. Through our project entitled ‘Wisconsin EMS Workforce Development: Addressing Occupational Trauma with Resiliency Training,’ we hope to improve the mental health and resiliency of our EMS providers throughout the state of Wisconsin. Funding from the Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment will help to greatly increase access to this much needed training for our first responders and we are excited to get to work!” says Dr. Matthew Chinn, Assistant Professor, Division of EMS Medicine – Department of Emergency Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin.

The Master Resilience Training will be conducted in a series of 8 live 3-day classes, open to 800 EMS workers, throughout the 18-month grant period. These live trainings will be hosted throughout the state and online. The first training session is set to be conducted in mid-September and more information will be available soon.

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, anxiety or suicidal thoughts please text HOPELINE to 741741 for immediate help. There is a caring Responder waiting for you!

For more information about Center for Suicide Awareness Please visit their centerforsuicideawareness.org, or follow them on Facebook @Center For Suicide Awareness.

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By staff