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Cocoa News Flash

Posted on: July 18, 2023

Cocoa Police and Fire Partner to Offer Peer Support Program

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Cocoa Fire and Police Departments have teamed up to offer mental health training and assistance through a program called Peer Support. This program, which was implemented in 2021, offers both training and mental health assistance to Cocoa first responders. Dr. Tina Jaeckle, Ph.D., LCSW, B.C.E.T.S., F.N.C.C.M., a licensed clinical social worker in Florida and Georgia who has over two decades of mental health experience, monitors the program for the City of Cocoa. She provides training to employees who volunteer to serve on the Critical Incident Stress Management Team (CISM) as well as provides services to those responders that may need mental health assistance. Dr. Jaeckle along with members of Cocoa PD and Cocoa Fire collaborated to establish policies and guidelines for a Peer Supports Program (PSP) for the City of Cocoa first responders. The PSP is established for the purpose of assisting employees who are suffering from stress-related problems or have experienced critical incident stress. The program's goal is to help employees through temporary crises, promote awareness of the self-help alternatives available, provide trained personnel who can assist in problem resolution before a breakdown is reached, and develop an additional system of referral for appropriate professional care. The program is another resource available to Cocoa’s first responders who may experience post-traumatic stress from critical incidents. The hope is that responders will utilize their peers as support to cope with certain stress or can be referred if needed to a mental health professional such as Dr. Jaeckle. A common misperception among public safety personnel is that reactions to a critical incident convey personal weakness, The City of Cocoa is trying to lift that misconception and make it a readily available option for support within the public safety departments. For more information on Dr. Jaeckle and the services she provides for public safety personnel, visit her website at https://www.drtinajaeckle.com/

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