Online service for responders aims to reduce stigma of PTSD
eHome Heroes offers confidential video chats with a counselor to first responders in an effort to shatter the PTSD stigma
By FireRescue1 Staff
ORLANDO, Fla. — A new program allows first responders to get the PTSD treatment they need right from their mobile device by connecting them with counselors via video chat.
“You are looking at the counselor, they are in the screen and you have a dialogue back and forth,” eHome Heroes chairman Rogers Kervin said.
Kervin said that based on the pilot tests of the program, the counselor-patient relationships appear to be effective.
“The fact of the matter is if I’m a counselor and I can relate to you, good things will happen,” he said.
The program assesses the mental status of the patient with seven tests before they are assigned to a counselor, and different “program components” are then utilized, including individualized treatment planning, individual video counseling and group counseling.
Kervin said in order to give the right kind of treatment to patients, the initial evaluation is key.
“Sometimes people think they have PTSD and their PTSD scores are very low, but their anxiety scores are off the chart,” he said.
Battalion Chief Mike Clelland believes the program will help responders because they do not have to let colleagues know they are dealing with PTSD, and they don’t have to go to a doctor’s office.
“It does work," he said. “All of the barriers that would keep someone from coming forward with post-traumatic stress are removed.”
According to Kervin, a recent poll found that 30 percent of appointments scheduled by responders with counselors were canceled, but only 2 percent of eHome Heroes appointments have been missed.