As the first point of contact for emergency situations, dispatchers are often the “forgotten” first responders. Dispatchers’ work can go unrecognized and their distress can be overlooked. This can lead to feelings of isolation while also compounding the stress associated with their unique line of work.
Enter Goldline Rescue™, which recognizes the unique challenges faced by dispatchers and provides them with a curated list of peer support specialists and culturally competent clinicians who understand their experiences and are prepared to help.
In this installment of our Director’s Cut Q&A series, UCF RESTORES Executive Director Deborah C. Beidel, Ph.D., ABPP, explores the potential use of the Goldline Rescue tool, defines the similarities and differences between apps in the Rescue Line network, and discusses UCF RESTORES’ evolving role in public safety first responder support.
In your view, why is a tool like Goldline Rescue important? What value does it offer dispatchers in the field?
“They are a voice at the other end of the line, but they rarely have face-to-face contact with the people who call on what is one of the worst days of their lives.”
Dispatchers often feel like the “forgotten” first responders. They are a voice at the other end of the line, but they rarely have face-to-face contact with the people who call on what is one of the worst days of their lives. Unfortunately, they often feel overlooked when the public speaks about first responders.
Goldline Rescue puts dispatchers on “equal footing” with their counterparts in fire service (Redline Rescue) and law enforcement (Blueline Rescue) in terms of access to behavioral health resources. It recognizes that their job is as stressful as other first responders and provides them access to a curated list of peer support specialists and culturally competent clinicians trained to assist with the stress of their unique occupation.
Talk us through the potential use of a tool like Goldline Rescue. How would a dispatcher incorporate the platform into their day to day?
“Goldline Rescue allows that immediate access to a support network of other dispatchers who ‘get’ you.”
We all carry our phones with us throughout the day, and we are used to searching for information on these devices. Knowing that, we’ve developed our peer support apps – including Goldline Rescue – to be mobile-friendly. When people are feeling sad, depressed, and are desperate for help, they want support immediately – Goldline Rescue allows that immediate access to a support network of other dispatchers who “get” you.
The Goldline, Redline and Blueline Rescue models have been designed distinctly and introduced separately, but they share similarities. Could you discuss which functionalities and systems the platforms share vs. what sets them apart?
“Understanding the culture of each diverse and distinct group is non-negotiable.”
All of the platforms offer a very similar look and feel. The website infrastructure and searchable categories are the same on each site. What is different are the people who populate the peer support and clinician categories. The trained peers come from the user’s same, designated background; the clinicians receive specialized training tied to the group they’ve signed up to serve. If clinicians appear on more than one site, that means they’ve undergone specific training for each population. Understanding the culture of each diverse and distinct group is non-negotiable.
Another difference are the whiteboards that appear on each site, which are designed to help users self-assess their challenges while helping the site’s search engine produce the peers or clinicians who most closely match the first responder’s needs. In each case, the vignettes that are represented on the whiteboards were developed in collaboration with specific, relevant first responders. So, firefighters helped us write the Redline whiteboards, law enforcement helped us develop the boards for Blueline, and dispatchers supported us in the build-out of Goldline. This allows the person in need to relate to the content of the whiteboard more closely – and allows us to get them the right help more efficiently.
Are there any intentions to expand these programs to other service populations in the future?
We are excited for the future of our peer support web network, and we could certainly apply this proven strategy to another service group that believes this product might be helpful. For example, there is a push in Florida to recognize corrections officers as first responders; if this moves forward and corrections officers are interested, we would be interested in exploring that further. We will also be linking other educational opportunities, such as peer support refresher trainings, on these sites.
How do you see UCF RESTORES’ role in the support of public safety first responders evolving over time?
“From peer support to clinical and resiliency services, our charge is clear: to give back to the first responders who give to us every single day.”
I believe that our role is to work with first responders and respond to their needs. We do this in many ways – through our Rescue Line sites, of course, but also through our training programs and clinical treatment offerings. As we move forward, our overall goal is to increase access to behavioral health resources for first responders – whether that be in person, on online.
Our strong focus on technology has allowed us to pivot and provide products, like the Rescue Lines, over the web. We are also working to bring our fire service and law enforcement cultural competency training online, too, to ease access for clinicians and further encourage their involvement.
From peer support to clinical and resiliency services, our charge is clear: to give back to the first responders who give to us every single day.