Nearly $800K Awarded for Services for Emergency Responders
Critical Incident Stress Management grants support 11 police departments
BOSTON – The Healey-Driscoll Administration today announced that 11 police departments from across Massachusetts have been awarded funds through the first state grant program supporting Critical Incident Stress Management services for emergency responders.
The Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) Grant Program delivered $792,371.13 to 11 municipal police departments to provide services to first responders. Each department employs emergency service providers who are certified by the Massachusetts Peer Support Network or International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, Inc., to provide services to first responders in the aftermath of traumatic events. Only municipal police departments were eligible to apply for funding; however, many of the departments awarded grant funding either provide or are affiliated with programs that provide services to police and other first responders beyond their own agency.
“The impacts of post-traumatic stress are well documented and can have an immeasurable toll on emergency responders. We owe it to our first responders to ensure that they have the mental health services and resources in place to support their health and wellbeing after they experience trauma in the line of duty. Our communities are stronger and safer as a result of access to essential critical incident stress management services,” said Governor Maura Healey.
“Every day, members of law enforcement face potential threats and uncertainty. When a critical incident occurs, police and other first responders run toward danger as others run away. These grants provide support to first responders who experience a traumatic event and ensure appropriate access to quality mental health services and peer counseling,” said Lt. Governor Kimberley Driscoll.
“The dedicated men and women who keep our communities safe too often hide the significant stress and trauma they incur from the job,” said Senator Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford), who created the state’s first peer support pilot program in 2018. “Every officer in the Commonwealth must have access to quality mental health services and peer support to combat this stigma, improve policing, and enhance the lives of our police and their families. Detective Rob Swartz and Officer Hank Turgeon have been incredible advocates and I thank them for their partnership in the creation of this life-saving program alongside John Nelson at the Massachusetts Coalition of Police and the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security.”
"Quality mental health support services are crucial to helping our law enforcement officers handle the daily stress and trauma that is associated with the job," said State Rep. Kathy LaNatra (D-Kingston). "I have made it a legislative priority to ensure that each and every first responder in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has access to mental health and support services after a traumatic and critical incident. I am thrilled to see the Plymouth Police Department receive a grant to help bolster their responses to first responders after a traumatic event. This ensures the health and well-being of not only our first responders, but the entire communities they serve."
The CISM Grant Program provides state funding for counseling personnel, training, outreach, and other expenses necessary to meet the needs of emergency responders who have experienced traumatic events. The grant is managed and administered by the Office of Grants and Research (OGR), a state agency that is part of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS).
“Members of law enforcement deserve our support in the aftermath of traumatic events. Crisis intervention, suicide prevention and other services are vital to ensuring the wellbeing of emergency responders who have experienced a traumatic or critical incident. Investing in these services supports the health and safety of police officers, their families, and their communities,” said Public Safety and Security Secretary Terrence Reidy.
“The public often has the opportunity to see emergency responders in action, but not the toll that this work takes. The Critical Incident Stress Management Grant Program helps provide services that officers need and deserve when they’ve experienced a traumatic event. Our first responders provide lifesaving services in times of crisis; the resources delivered through this grant can help save emergency responders in the aftermath of crisis,” said OGR Executive Director Kevin Stanton.
This year marks the first time that funds have been awarded through the Critical Incident Stress Management Grant Program.
"The Massachusetts Coalition of Police has been at the forefront of providing peer support and wellness strategies to public safety personnel, including a first in the nation online mental health survey in 2016. As the largest police union in Massachusetts, many of our member agencies will benefit from this funding. We want to thank Senator Montigny, Representative LaNatra and the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security for their efforts and partnering in advocacy with MassCOP in making this funding a reality. This much needed grant provides funding to agencies creating resources necessary to assist in reducing public safety suicide and properly addressing employee mental health wellness. A healthy public safety workforce is beneficial to every community in the Commonwealth,” said Scott Hovsepian, President of the Massachusetts Coalition of Police.
“The Massachusetts Fraternal Order of Police would like to thank Senator Mark Montigny and Representative Kathy LaNatra for their unsolicited assistance and support of police officers’ mental wellness and overall well-being. As a result of their recent efforts and those of Massachusetts Wellness Committee Chairman and National FOP Wellness Committee Member Rob Swartz and FOP Member Hank Turgeon, Police Officers throughout the Commonwealth will benefit from this funding. This includes 1,500 officers from over 30 agencies within Southeastern Massachusetts alone. Officers will now have access to wellness training, professional mental health support, peer support and numerous other services for themselves and their families. The Massachusetts FOP strongly believes that by supporting our officer’s wellbeing, the communities they serve will benefit as well, ” said Richard Shailor, Vice President and National Trustee of the Fraternal Order of Police.
The following police departments were awarded funding: