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Responder Resilience, January 5, 2022

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Responder Resilience
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Story of a Trauma Response Team, with guests Captain Jacques Roy, Stamford Fire Department and Dawn Roy, LCSW.

Story of a Trauma Response Team

Responder Resilience with David Dachinger, Bonnie C Rumilly and Dr Stacy Raymond

Guests, Dawn Roy LCSW and Captain Jacques Roy, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, EMDR Therapist, Fire Captain, Firefighter Peer Support Network

Headlined Show, Responder Resilience January 5, 2022

Broadcast Date

The Story of a Trauma Response Team: In this episode, we’ll be speaking with Captain Jacques Roy, of the Stamford CT Fire Department, and Dawn Roy, LCSW about Trauma in the Fire Service, Peer Support, Mental Health, and the birth of the Fairfield County Trauma Response Team. 

In Stamford CT, on Christmas morning 2011, three young sisters and their two grandparents perished in a tragic structure fire. 

Captain Jacques Roy and 70 other Stamford firefighters fought the fire and retrieved the bodies of the victims, then struggled with PTSD and flashbacks in the aftermath. 

Seeking help, they found a huge gap for immediate, quality mental health services for the unique culture of first responders. 

Captain Roy, whose wife Dawn is an EMDR Trauma Therapist, asked her for help, which eventually led to the birth of the Fairfield County Trauma Response Team, which offered Stamford firefighters CISM and immediate mental health care. 

The FCTRT was again pressed into action with the Sandy Hook shootings, where they treated state troopers, police, FBI SWAT team members, clergy, hospital workers, students, and teachers. They also provided therapy to therapists.

Watch “Story of a Trauma Response Team” Wednesday, Jan 5th, 7pm ET with Capt. Jacques Roy (Stamford FD) and Dawn Roy, LCSW (Fairfield County Trauma Response Team)
Responder Resilience podcast is hosted by Bonnie Rumilly, LCSW/EMT, Dr. Stacy Raymond, and Lt. David Dachinger (Ret.) on Wednesdays at 7pm ET.
https://bbsradio.com/responderresilience
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Guest, Dawn Roy LCSW and Captain Jacques Roy

Guest Name
Dawn Roy LCSW and Captain Jacques Roy
Guest Occupation
Licensed Clinical Social Worker, EMDR Therapist, Fire Captain, Firefighter Peer Support Network
Guest Biography

Jacques Roy has 27 years of service with the Stamford Fire Department and 13 years as a Captain. He is a coordinator for the Stamford Fire Department Peer Support Team and a member of the CT Firefighter Peer Support Network. 

Dawn Roy is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and holds an Approved Clinical Supervisor (ACS) credential and is a certified Mental Health First aid instructor. 

Dawn has a background in assisting Public Safety First Responders, having provided trauma treatment using EMDR and other related evidenced-based treatment modalities following numerous traumatic events. Earning the respect of these first responders who are generally hesitant to seek help, Dawn is well versed with the sensitive nature of emergency services work.

Dawn currently maintains a private clinical practice in Fairfield, CT, and is also a member of the Fairfield County Trauma Response Team, Inc. a team of licensed, seasoned trauma therapists trained in EMDR and disaster response. 

Responder Resilience

Responder Resilience show is dedicated to improving the mental and physical well-being of police, fire, EMS, and dispatch personnel. Hosted by Lt. David Dachinger (Ret.), Dr. Stacy Raymond, Psy.D., and Bonnie C. Rumilly, LCSW/EMT-B, these broadcasts feature expert guests sharing vital information about wellness topics for first responders. For resilience strategies with compassion and humanity from the front lines of responder health and wellness, subscribe and watch it here. 

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Weekly Show
BBS Station 1
Wednesday
Starts
6:00 pm CT
Ends
6:55 pm CT
Show Transcript (automatic text 90% accurate)

welcome to respond to resilience I'm your host David aschinger and this episode will be speaking with Jack Roy captain in the Stamford Connecticut fire department and Don Roy LCSW about trauma in the fire service support mental health and the birth of the Fairfield County Trauma response team will be back right after this in this family more of us die by our own hands that by the hazards of the job in this family up to a quarter of 911 dispatchers have symptoms of PTSD
in this family our mental health and wellness are in crisis while responders are quietly suffering in this family many struggle with job-related stress burnout trauma sleep disruption substance abuse and marriage problems in this family we can help the helpers with Vital Information and resources resilient strategies and success stories of overcoming the obstacles in this family no one is alone welcome to respond to resilience with co-host retired lieutenant David laschinger dr. Stacy Raymond and Bonnie really LCSW emt-b
I would like to welcome our guests to this very special episode of responder resilience before we get started with our conversation is all social worker otherwise known as LCSW as a background assisting First Responders and other related evidence-based treatment modalities following earning the respect of these First Responders generally hesitant to seek help for the sensitive nature of Emergency Services work
she also currently maintains a private practice in Fairfield Connecticut and is a member of the Fairfield County Trauma Response Team EMDR and Disaster Response
Jack Roy has 27 years of service with the Stamford fire department and 13 years as a captain he's a coordinator for the Stamford fire department support network welcome to respond resilience.
so we'll get the conversation started to Bonnie if you'd like to ask them the first question
so I definitely am, Response Team Dan
a group that we're looking to form something call the trauma recovery Network are specialized County
there had not yet been a need for that I'm sure there was but at any rate there were a group of clinicians and on Christmas Day 2011 number 25 there was a fatality incidents where a set of grandparents and my husband was firefighters from Stamford fire department was on the scene and saw that is
members were really really struggling and was reaching out to various different song service is it takes a lot for First Responders to ask for help for virtually no response and really I received a call on that day at roughly around 11 a.m. as I recall from my husband and so really it was that incident in the media days following when there was a critical incident stress management
we spent the last 10 years working hard to understand the unique culture of First Responders and making sure we were delivering what I needed
that's a long answer I apologize it's important you know it's important perspective what was your experience in terms of uniqueness of the fire culture asking for help and becoming aware that were actually experiencing a problem with mental health
I really need to be honest it didn't see it as a problem and when I first met my wife and her being in the line of work is she is fine the time she would ask me and she would say you know what does anything from work bother you
and are my answer was really I mean things are we see a lot of unpleasant things but nothing that really affected me off the job or that I brought home with me and
I mean it's a lot young it's a lot different when you're 25 years old or 20 in our late twenties and you don't have any children but at the time of this incident you know what the we had two boys roughly the same age as as the three fatalities and
you know it it if it really hit me this this call effect me and and
I like to think I'm pretty open-minded and and and even before I was affected I don't think I would shame someone for feeling like they needed help but you know I would never do that you know for once I was really going down the whole I was like wow
I can't believe it's me guy I thought that would really you know really be affected and that's when it really opened my eyes like this is real this is a real issue
it's it's not a lot of some of the very similar things they save the great news you know about their struggling with and not feeling that transition just a shift really
which is so I could just add I agree 100% and I'm sure all of you has to have noticed the change in the last 10-15 years Mental Health
bra First Responders is very front line issue and
like to see if he dressed like a credit also to the Fairfield County Trauma response team for their Outreach because up until your team came to our department the only thing we knew about Mental Health Services was and that open the door your presentation open the door to a number of different options and and now I hear the phrase EMDR like almost every week. Yes it's accepted and and people Rave about it starts to spread through that people are really interested in the benefits
something that's unique I think to about our team is that when we do the work that we do
you know what you start are there really genuinely for the responders and just want them to have immediate care
I think what our team describe was the turning point of the Shadows you mentioned that your department received the the presentations roughly a 90-minute presentation that the team you know presents to to various first responder groups
pickleback how that formed I'm not sure if the team was already in the process of developing a presentation or not but we had a we had a bad day in Stanford we had three fatalities and we had some guys three separate incidents and and we had a couple of guys reach out for me 84 Cinelli you know
they got a response we can get you in next Thursday and it's like for one of our guys to
reach out for help they need immediate attention and and
when that happens myself in a couple of other firemen died.
Had had had Donnie and Tiara and saw members of the Fairfield team and we went to our Training Division and we said listen we want to do want to do a presentation to make fire department on trauma and what's available treatment and and what have you and
you saw one version of that cuz I'm sure that it's changed over the years but we were you know and just to pick up a couple three guys that maybe we're struggling and at the time yet I think 250 members and we had like 15 right off the bat right off the bat like 15 people reach out for help what's up it was amazing for like wow that's hard to believe and
and at what happened I did and it was kind of weird Word of Mouth like I have a buddy that works in Norwalk and the next thing you know that the team presented in Norwalk and it just kind of mushrooms and that's how we got to Richfield or they got to Ridgefield and yeah it's been pretty amazing to watch
your support and your support room
well again you know I had struggles with this incident the the Christmas fire and
I accessed reap and unfortunately
they didn't offer specialized treatment so I can't I did traditional talk therapy with with like a general practitioner therapist than anything it made it worse you know until a point my wife
and she she was suggesting I went and saw a therapist like I was like I am trying and you know I was finally I hit a breaking point and I went and I didn't get the r I couldn't believe how effective it was and
so how come we don't know about this you know how come we don't know about this and
referred a couple of other guys I knew that were struggling and you had the same the same success
so we play it forward a few years ago Beyond a few years forward it was like I will
we should have a peer support team in and even nationally was just that was really starting to to grow but a man was obviously something that I wanted to be a part of because
I had seen you know why we need 14 formally have a team you know some of the guys that had done EMDR some of the first the first guys were we know we were kind of doing it anyway you know we were guys are reaching out to us about how was it how was its experience how does it work you know who I need to contact so that was the next step was alright let's let's get a formal pure support team and
I like to think I mean covid slowed everything down but I think it's worked pretty well talk to your team look a little deeper into the peer support topic and before we take a quick break. Could you just explain a little bit about EMDR what it is how it works
sure I'm just going to tell you it's just it's a salon salon mount for 1987 Yaris that she discovered she has a history of cancer she has since passed away
bilateral stimulation I just if you were free process traumatic memories so it's locked sights and sounds and smells and negative thoughts or your your your unsticking something you're moving
and I never had a problem driving a car before I get in the car after the car accident and my hands start to sweat and I have the picture after successful EMDR treatment Bonnie as well aware of it and certainly we use bilateral stimulation to really help a person reprocess difference from a deceased relative to the person different people responded
going to the same scene and everybody has a completely different experience or activation sometimes from that particular call so let's take a quick break trauma Response Team a support
we're back speaking with Captain Jack Roy Stamford fire department Royal csw and my colleague
I want to take a first responder what are you going to do to my brains erase something associated with the memory
all right to my fellow First Responders I'm just super quick and and one of the reasons why I found it so beneficial is it made sense to me when I was explained to me roughly how EMDR work very primitive level I had done talk therapy and it didn't help at all if anything it made me worse when I went to EMDR and Dawn mentioned the bilateral stimulation
therapist I had asked me to do you understand how do you practice EMS as well yes you understand different parts of the brain you don't have different functions yes she said we'll look at it this way you have two sides of your brain and your one is your motive side and that's obviously it how you process things in motion your feelings and what happened and then you have a cognitive side and that's more logic and and think things through when I speak to other firefighters I always use the example of my kid fails the test at school right I get angry I'm upset right but why did it happen you know maybe needs reading glasses maybe he needs a tutor
they need to get a cell phone taken away who are you getting understand and and she asked me she said understand yeah I get it and she says well what happens in a life-threatening or traumatic situation often is you have to suppress your emotions and got the problem solved right in order to survive
and
she said you understand that and I I just hit me it's that's our job in a nutshell right
when someone calls 911 it's not an emergency for us right it should be business as usual like
all your emotions down and problem solved that's why people are calling us
and she said well when you do that and you suppress your emotions at a bad scene or wherever what happens is you can end up not processing
the Victor the image the things that Dawn mentioned and they they basically just get locked up and you don't you never get the chance to process them emotionally
so when you do EMDR with the bilateral stimulation and you go through these targets these images or whatever they are and all it does is the stimulation allows the emotive side to process the Ensign firefighter level stuff my brothers and sisters
and then you know once you process it it just moves into your long-term memory the filing cabinet that's on mention and no longer does it bring you know your heart race you know no longer does it all of a sudden in the middle of the day at no for no apparent reason you you see an image you know you kind you don't forget it it just doesn't elicit an emotional response
okay enough good enough to explain it you can't erase the memory disturbance in your body the signs and symptoms that you were from an initial interview or look back at the incident it's not coming at you all the time which now what I experienced
Don jumping back to the trauma Response Team what actually happens when somebody contact the team
reasons why a first responder organization would contact the week did you receive a request to come into various different departments in to First Responders and look at is this happening for you and if so here are the resources and here is a list of clinician Westerly when you're in a crisis so that's one scenario that information when and if they are triggered and also
different resources to do type of response or debriefing or support particular Department incident stress management scenarios for treatment so there's different ways
given to if someone reaches out for help themselves or on behalf of another first responder one of our three coordinators will respond within 24 hours and a sign that a is able to take them soon as soon as I heard everything presentation
how do you support your own people with the first responder we strapped was that just because you're a leader doesn't mean you're above your own
it's just so important that you're aware of your own limits in your own mental health really be mindful of taking care of themselves
yeah it's a huge contribution to leadership development and I'm so impressed with that and I'm hoping there's more more Department adopted as part of their in a post promotion process free promotion process that works what's the mechanics of it in your department where the resources are available
the way our team was picked originally as we put out a survey to the entire department you know who would you feel comfortable discussing a personal problem with was a one question survey and that's how we came up with our list and end at the good part about that is you know there's someone from every for everyone you know there's Seabury senior people and there's younger people and there's different ranks and you know you want your peer team to represent the department
stand and fight and you want people that they trust you know and we always tell her our PR team you don't have to truss all 18 members She Needs Trust 12 you know that's that's how we get that's how our team was picked then we receive training and we do ongoing training our Clinical Director is a member of the Fairfield County team so certainly if we ever have any questions we bounce ideas off her know she she's point us in the right direction and all the team and all our contact numbers are posted in all the firehouses they're posted on the fire department web page if someone wants to retain everyone kind of knows who's on the team anyway so
you know they can they can always reach out and they and they have and they just need to talk you know one-on-one with another firefighter that you know if that's enough that's that's enough and if they you don't feel that they need to you know seek professional help I mean that's what's so great is in our peer support team has been trained and our Clinical Director is a member of the team if it's if it's something trauma-related you know I we can point them you know we can make good you know solid referrals so I really want to one
it can be a group I mean it in a traditionally it's 1121
you know I can think of a couple of instances where you know someone reached out to a couple a couple members but
traditionally most of the time it's 12:59 if they're struggling and they need to first go to facility for whatever reason why they're going to the river
credit to take another break will be right back talking more about pure sport response team after this respond to subsidize freecharge services to First Responders including police officers firefighters EMS Personnel throughout Connecticut resources include scholarships only a list of fire and EMS boot program has gym memberships and t-shirts Fairfield County Trauma response. Org on face
at responder Wellness responder Wellness
I was wondering. Could you talk a little bit about your experience and how it makes you a better pure support team leader do you feel like when people come to it gives you an easier sense of when you need to refer them out and because you can draw on your own experience and Stylo 5 how to empty our or I struggled it puts you in a better position to help them yeah absolutely you know it's
I didn't read it in a book you know I act went through it so
I can't say I understand everything that somebody might be experiencing but at least some of it and
yeah and I can and I think it also helps develop a trust you know it's almost I'll show you your mine if you show me yours you know and it didn't end and being upfront and this is what I experienced the kind of opens the door and allows them to to open up my belief
John in terms of the trauma response team and what we're seeing out there do you work with people in the community Beyond firefighters and police and mental health challenges are experiencing primary mission is to support First Responders and providing over the course of 10 years is more broadly the first thing Sandy Hook were really involved heavily involved
impacted heavily Educators and teachers on the front lines in that incident so we availed ourselves of the medical fields
I have an additional point on our team also sponsors a weekly Pierce report to meeting on Fridays and we have had so many different First Responders not just police Fire EMS dispatch we've got Animal Control we have two Corrections you know we've had enough bibian in our team so when you think of all of the people that get to a difficult incident first they're the ones who really are First Responders and I remember the first time we met an animal control officer who arrived on our meeting and at first we were just curious about what brought you here and what this person had to share with pill I opening
professional you know how do you realize how much we've had to see all of the animal cruelty and and everything is this person had witnessed in a 30 or 40 year career and it just this light bulb goes off and you as a therapist and you realize wow First Responders are in so many different avenue you know even try or tow truck drivers you think of what they have to pull up on and see just like we all do so I think that one thing I'm proud of his our team is very very inclusive and I think that we try to think outside the box I would try to include anyone that we think is really impacted and like Don said during covid if he came so clear to us that medical professionals were struggling big time I'm in our group chat quite a lot for that not this referral for group and things like that to a local hospital so it's important to a place in fire
there's a lot more of them out there so we have to remember them and and get them to listen to these podcasts to
well as we wrap up Dawn and shock thank you so much for being here with us in telling us what you have experienced what you are up to its really really powerful and I think it's so important that we're all spreading this information and making it impossible for people to consider other options besides should have just doing business as usual is there any projects or
courses or any kind of offerings we have you like to share
definitely now.
There's more opportunities for in person when people are in a room together we will be offering your support training in the middle of March 2022 are any first responder police Fire EMS would like to go through that and members from their Department would like to join their team or perhaps they're starting so we're going to be offering that opportunity
what's the best way for people to find out about that if they're interested in becoming thank you anything else you wanted to add
just so you know there's a lot of times there's just this idea that PTSD is
is it treatable that you know you're stuck with it and end in 04 my brothers and sisters you know that's not the case I mean there is effective treatment and and
you know if
if you're not willing to do it for yourself and I'll do it for you your your your spouse owe your children or whatever because you know when you're not right
you're not right at home either so you know if you think you might need help go get help and you know everyone around you will be will be happy
but thank you both again for being here. Everybody to respond thank you for being your amazing interviewing self safe and be kind to yourself
take care

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