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In all my years, I have never experienced this much emotion.

I constantly remind myself, “Drop your shoulders, breathe.”

At the hockey rink, in grocery stores, in the waiting room of our clinic. This season has brought on changes and challenges we never could have anticipated, and the tension? It’s the palpable kind.

When emotion gets really big, or when we are in pain or in trouble, we call our first responders. Nurses, physicians, police, fire, EMS, social workers and military. We rarely think about them until we need them. And then when we need them, we hope they are there with full hearts, ready to save us when we’re struggling, when we experience trauma.

Turns out, historically, we tend to do a very poor job of managing the effects of this critical work on them, and their families. This can often mean the work itself becomes debilitating at worst, derailing at best. We all, often, pay some sort of price for the work we do, but it is first responders who interest me the most. 

“See, if we experience trauma (any experience encoded in terror), every day, often repeatedly in one day, and have nowhere to put it, it will drop kick us. Full stop. They were never meant to do this alone.”

First responders have taught me so many lessons in my life.

Early in my career, long before I was a real psychologist, I learned from police officers and their spouses what happens when there is nowhere to put the hard things. I was so inspired that both my Master’s thesis and my PhD dissertation were about first responders, their families, and the price they pay. My hope was that one day I would be able to give back a little and shed some light on what I think might make this holy work more effective.

Our first responders are exhausted, friends. The current climate has not been easy on them, and I think they’re largely unseen and unsung for the incredibly difficult work they do. And I’ll tell you, many of these heroes just focus on the “serving” part, the profession itself, and so we forget about the people behind the masks. Further, there has been even less support (read: nothing) for the spouses and the families who will often suffer the effects of the trauma their spouses will experience on the job.

We were never meant to do this alone. We are wired for connection.

Join me on November 5 for Hello Hero, a one-day virtual event for all the heroes who do the brave work of helping people at their most vulnerable. The heroes who do the frontline work, and the people who support them.

Our goal is to:

  • Reconnect first responders and their spouses, families and friends
  • Reduce the stigma around mental health
  • Share stories and educate each other
  • Offer resources and support for this critical line of work

Our hope is to reconnect organizations by offering group rates for 10 or more people. To inquire please send an email to 

For tickets, speaker line-up and more information, visit:

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