First Responders First attended the 2021 National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Officer Wellness Summit in Nashville, Tennessee. Hosted by the Nashville Airport Marriott Hotel from February 8 to February 9, 2021, the event focused on the health and wellness of FOP members and the resources to support their continued investment in bettering themselves on and off duty.
The National Officer Wellness Committee put on an informative, engaging event. First Responders First is proud to attend and support police officers' wellness education across the nation. We appreciate Stephanie Samuels of Copline for inviting us to attend.
What is the 2021 FOP Officer Wellness Summit?
The National FOP Officer Wellness Summit offers presentations on wellness topics, expert panel discussions, wellness activities, and training sessions. The summit aims to provide the education and tools to those in law enforcement to improve their wellness in a variety of ways, such as mentally, emotionally, physically, and holistically.
By supporting law enforcement officers across the United States with their wellness, we hope to prevent burnout, mental illness, addiction, and more they face as they work in the field.
The FOP continues to add resources for officers and first responders in mental health and addiction. They understand just how crucial it is to provide first responders the support they need as they handle the day in and day out of police work.
Sessions included topics around first responder family dynamics, dealing with trauma, supporting one another as peers, building wellness policies, and strengthening wellness culture within the first responder world. Attendees were also invited to participate in yoga/mindfulness sessions, an organized walk/run course, and after-hours networking sessions to discuss the day’s events further.
Key Takeaways from the 2021 FOP Officer Wellness Summit
After attending the two-day event, First Responders First wants to share some of our key takeaways:
- We met so many people that were there strictly for the purpose of getting more information and resources for our first responders in mental health.
- It was awesome to see the number of people who came from all over the country to this very much needed conference.
- There is a lot more awareness that we need to focus on preventative work to help first responders learn to manage their stress and trauma. Early intervention is key.
- There are many states that are lagging with resources, peer support groups, and laws that need to be changed to protect first responders with PTSD.
- There is still a lot of work that still needs to be done in being proactive and active to those suffering in silence.
- There are not enough culturally competent resources available to all first responders that need help with their mental health.
Elizabeth Rivas, Clinical Director of First Responders first said of the FOP Officer Wellness Summit, “To see so many committed to mental wellness brings hope to the future of helping our first responders.”
First Responders First will take all that we learned and discussed at the 2021 FOP Officer Wellness Summit to help us continue to serve first responders suffering from mental illness and addiction.
We look forward to continuing to participate in events across the country that support first responders. We will continue to take a hard look at what more we need to be doing to support our heroes at First Responders First and beyond.