The idea and structure of Public Safety Professionals Retreat began to develop in 2011 as a community service project with the support of local Bakersfield Rotary Clubs and Rotary District 5240 (Counties Kern, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura).
Although the initial vision was to assist military veterans dealing with symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), during the feasibility study it quickly became evident that another community of service professionals, First Responders, had little to no mental health support programs available, specifically, those which focused on prevention and early intervention. The decision was not made lightly, but it became clear that the focus needed to be on First Responders alone.
The term "First Responders," refers to emergency response professionals, e.g., law enforcement officers (city police and county deputy sheriffs), city and county fire fighters, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), paramedics, dispatchers, detentions/corrections officers, park rangers, and other city, county, state, and federal employees who find themselves on the front lines of public safety. In these professions, many are subjected to "critical incidents” as an accepted part of the job. “Critical incidents,” as defined by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reads: A highly stressful situation. Simply put, a critical incident is a traumatic event (or perceived life-threatening experience) that has sufficient power to overwhelm an individual's ability to cope.
The need for an intensive, prevention and early-intervention program for First Responders whose lives have been impacted by the critical incidents experienced as part of their work experiences was (and is) conclusive. The Public Safety Professionals Retreat vision is to create a retreat that provides an educational and healing experience to help current and retired First Responders recognize the signs and symptoms of work-related stress, provide support, teach new skills, and help manage symptoms that may be interfering with their jobs and personal lives. By addressing issues such as drug/alcohol use, isolating, sleep disturbances, and other stress-related symptoms when they initially manifest, interventions may prevent these symptoms from becoming unmanageable and life-threatening.
The overriding mission of Public Safety Professionals Retreat is to enable First Responders to participate in the PSPR program and significantly benefit from the experience by resuming the profession they love, restoring their personal relationships, thriving in retirement, and avoiding thoughts of suicide.
Stigma and denial are issues that tend to dissuade First Responders from seeking mental health assistance. This may be due to the well-documented anticipation of labeling and ridicule, especially within the “hero” professions, that prevent sufferers to seek help. Choice of profession does not make one infallible. The PSPR program embraces the humanity of First Responders and offers innovative skills training and psychoeducation throughout the retreat.
In early 2019, Public Safety Professionals Retreat began a detailed and extensive process of administrative changes to solidify and clarify the mission, vision, and goals of the organization. In doing so, Public Safety Professionals Retreat, ProSPeR, or PSPR was established as an independent, state and federally recognized 501c3 non-profit entity with Gold Seal Transparency through GuideStar/Candid.
This website is not monitored. This material is provided for informational purposes only. The information contained here is in no way meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any condition, mental or physical, or take the place of qualified professional medical or psychiatric care. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new course of treatment, primary or complementary. Please use caution when using any new form of treatment.
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