Organization Designed to Help1st Responders Expands to Oklahoma

News 6 - October 26, 2022 6:29 am

An organization based in Texas, designed to help first responders, is now ready to help those in Oklahoma.

F1RST leaders are hoping the program in Oklahoma creates a new standard of wellness for all first responders.

Co-founder Dr. Heather Twedell says first responders need better access to resources when it comes to both physical and mental health because they sacrifice so much.

F1RST began two-and-a-half years ago in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and is now in its initial phase in Wellston, Oklahoma with plans to expand to other communities across the state.

F1RST features a team of people who provide support to first responders and their families for the challenges they face on a daily basis.

Dr. Twedell added that many don’t receive training on how to respond to repeated trauma and high stress.

Dr. Twedell is hoping the F1RST Program is a preventative approach to help first responders before they face major challenges in life. This includes access to mental health providers, exercise physiologists and registered dietitians.

According to Dr. Twedell, statistics show suicide, anxiety, substance abuse and divorce rates are higher for first responders compared to those who do not work in a similar field and she’s hoping to help reduce it through this work.

“When someone’s nervous system is left in this flight or fight survival mode. They have major consequences to that not only to their medical health, to relationships, to sleep, to day to day functioning. They need all the support from the experts who can help never make the job easier but to make some of those things tolerable,” Dr. Heather Twedell said.

Dr. Twedell credits the many law enforcement agencies and nonprofit organizations that continue to partner with F1RST to make their operations possible. She says they are looking to expand their services statewide as well.

“For me to know that what we are doing in the DFW area has not only been so welcomed but also thrives because of the support we have from local departments. To know it’s branching it to other areas of Texas but now another state it really excites me,” said Dr. Heather Twedell.


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