Governor DeWine Announces Launch of Ohio Office of First Responder Wellness
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine on Monday announced the creation of a new division within the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s Office of Criminal Justice Services that will focus exclusively on the well-being of Ohio’s first responders. The new Ohio Office of First Responder Wellness will work to encourage self-care and mental wellness for Ohio’s first responder community including law enforcement, fire, emergency medical services, dispatch, corrections, and Ohio-based military.
The office will provide specialized support and training to help emergency-response agencies proactively address post-traumatic stress and other traumas caused by factors that are unique to first-responder careers. Steven M. Click, who served 36 years with the Ohio State Highway Patrol and oversaw their Member Assistance Team from 2002 to 2018, will serve as the director of the Ohio Office of First Responder Wellness. Click has been active in peer support since 1993 and was deployed twice to New York City after the 9/11 attacks to work with the New York Police Department's peer support team. Most recently, Click served as a liaison between the first responder community and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
The Ohio Office of First Responder Wellness will partner with local and state mental health agencies, including the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, to offer continuing, comprehensive resources to first-responder entities across the state. First responder wellness is a priority of Governor DeWine as part of a broader statewide initiative that comprehensively considers the impact of critical incident trauma, chronic exposure to traumatic events, and chronic exposure to organizational stress. Click HERE to read the full announcement.