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New resource supports first responders with repetitive head impacts and mental health concerns

The initiative addresses the complex interplay between repetitive head impacts, traumatic brain injuries and mental health symptoms among first responders

Police officers look on after a crowd starts a riot against the police and set a van on fire in Belfast

Police officers look on after a crowd starts a riot against the police and set a van on fire in Belfast

Stephen Barnes/Getty Images

By FireRescue1 Staff

In a significant step toward enhancing the wellness of law enforcement officers and other first responders, a website dedicated to addressing the consequences of repetitive head impacts (RHI), concussions, and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) has been unveiled.

This Concussion Legacy Platform — the result of collaborative efforts involving Stephanie Samuels, the Director and Founder of COPLINE, Ret. CHP Officer Jackie Diaz, COPLINE’S Resource Coordinator, and Michael Burke, the Director of Patient Programs at the Concussion Legacy Foundation (CLF) — aims to shed light on how these physical injuries often manifest as mental health issues.

The initiative underscores a critical gap in the current understanding and treatment of mental health within the law enforcement and first responder communities. Traditional mental health evaluations, even by culturally competent professionals, frequently overlook the potential role of RHIs and TBIs, focusing instead solely on psychological trauma. This oversight can lead to misdiagnosis and inadequate treatment plans for those suffering from PTSD, anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, and impulsivity, which are often exacerbated by or mistaken for purely psychological conditions.

Recognizing the intricate connection between head injuries and mental health symptoms, the new CLF website endeavors to educate officers, first responders and their families about the comorbidity of head impacts, injuries and psychological disorders. This comprehensive approach considers not only concussions but also non-concussive events like contact sports, violent household environments, military service, and rigorous police academy and training scenarios, which might contribute to cumulative head trauma.

COPLINE distinguishes itself by being the only 24/7 confidential hotline that trains volunteers to inquire about past head impacts and injuries. This strategy enables them to refer callers not only to culturally competent mental health clinicians but also to medical professionals through CLF, who are better equipped to address the underlying physical aspects of their conditions.

Stephanie Samuels believes that this integrated approach to addressing both the physical and mental health needs of law enforcement and first responders is a critical component of suicide prevention. By providing a more nuanced understanding of the relationship between head injuries and mental health symptoms, the new website aims to foster a more informed and supportive community, ultimately enhancing the well-being and operational effectiveness of those who serve and protect.

Learn more here.


COPLINE offers a CONFIDENTIAL 24-hour hotline answered by retired law enforcement officers who have gone through a strenuous vetting and training process to become an active listener. COPLINE retired officer listeners assist with the successful management of various psychosocial stressors that impact a significant number of law enforcement officers and their families. Should the caller need further assistance the retired officer listener has access to vetted clinical referrals to therapists and programs throughout the caller’s regions to further assist with ongoing stressors. Cordico and Lexipol are proud supporters of COPLINE.