30 FIRERESCUE MAGAZINE MAY 2017 FIREFIGHTERNATION.COM
include art and recreation; and nutrition health
Treatment days are structured, with wakeup starting around 6: 45 a.m. Balanced meals are an important part of each day, as are daily assigned times
for exercise. There’s education about addiction and
mental health, relapse prevention, vicarious trauma
and spirituality, as well as individual sessions with
primary counselors and myself, group therapy, and
therapeutic recreation such as yoga and meditation.
In the evenings, clients attend in-house and community 12-step meetings and participate in leisure
activities that help them learn and relearn how to
enjoy time without using drugs and alcohol.
To ensure that firefighters can recognize the
need for behavioral health services, Florian leader-
ship is training fire personnel across the county to
recognize and act on the signs and symptoms of
substance abuse and mental health struggles.
I and other Florian staff have personally visited
departments across the United States. Rosecrance
has hosted several successful regional “Reading
Smoke” seminars attended by firefighters, fire
chiefs, chaplains, and other clinicians who treat the
firefighter population. Those seminars emphasize
the importance of peer support and education
about stress, how pain medication and other forms
of self-medication can lead to increased use and
abuse of substances, PTSD, and suicide prevention.
Rosecrance expanded on those trainings with
an eight-hour Firefighters’ Professional Day at the
Rosecrance Harrison Campus where employee
assistance professionals, clinicians, and fire service
personnel from many different organizations spoke
about their profession and services. The response
to the education led to the development of the first
Rosecrance Florian Symposium, which took place
in 2016 over three days near Chicago, bringing
together clinical experts and fire service leaders
from across the country to speak about behavioral
health within the fire service. The first-of-its-kind
comprehensive event attracted nearly 200 attendees
from 20 states and Canada.
Roden: How does an individual enter the program, and what is the process?
DeGryse: People can enter the program several
different ways. They can refer themselves; a family member can refer a loved one; or the referral
could come directly from an employer (in this case,
most often a fire department), an EAP, or a peer
Once an inquiry is made, a person is connected
with our access department. An access staff member
asks the person a series of questions to determine
if he or she formally qualifies for treatment. After
that, a phone assessment or in-person assessment
is done with one of our master’s-level counselors.
Insurance is verified, then people can be admitted
to the health center for detoxification, if needed, or
directly to the Florian unit.
Roden: What’s in store for the future of Rosecrance Florian?
DeGryse: We moved the Florian unit to a
bigger space in 2016 in preparation for expanding the program to serve all uniformed services,
including police, military, and corrections officers.
Rosecrance decided to expand services to all first
responders after finding success with addressing
the needs of fire service personnel and identifying the often-volatile climates faced by police
and other first responders. We’ll be adding law
Right: To ensure the highest
level of care, all Florian staff
participate in regular cultural
awareness training so they
can better understand the
physical and emotional nature
of the fire service. (Photo by
Below: Staff training includes
suiting up in full firefighter
gear and doing drills under
the supervision of the Rockford Fire Department. (Photo
by Ethan Loomis.)