Mental Wellness Leader Deepens Commitment to First Responder Community
Wellbeing with Proven, Innovative App Offering
UCF RESTORES – the leading mental wellness clinic and research center for first responders in Florida and across the U.S., which includes the National Center of Excellence for First Responder Behavioral Health – has unveiled Blueline Rescue, a first-of-its-kind, mobile peer support system designed specifically for Florida’s law enforcement. Blueline Rescue allows active and retired personnel – as well as their families – immediate and confidential access to qualified peers trained through either UCF RESTORES’ REACT peer support training program or the Nova Southeastern University Peers as Law Enforcement Support (PALS) training program, as well as licensed mental health clinicians trained through the UCF RESTORES Law Enforcement Cultural Competency Training Program. Blueline Rescue is backed by funding from The Center for Law Enforcement Technology, Training & Research and a grant from the State of Florida Department of Children and Families (LH843).
“Blueline Rescue is an integral piece of the puzzle when it comes to UCF RESTORES’ 360-degree approach to first responder mental wellness,” said UCF RESTORES Executive Director Deborah C. Beidel, Ph.D., ABPP. “By ensuring that effective training is available to both peers and clinicians across the state – and then connecting these trained groups with in-need officers in real time – we’re making strides on providing Florida’s first responders with the evidence-based resources they deserve.”
Blueline Rescue connects law enforcement personnel directly with a growing, statewide network of empathic peers (factoring in rank, level of experience and lifestyle components) to provide immediate support for anxiety and other distressing symptoms that often accompany exposure to traumatic events – events that are core to the law enforcement profession. Upon logging onto BluelineRescue.org, visitors are guided through a series of whiteboard videos that illustrate the most typical challenges for which first responders seek treatment: addiction, anger management, anxiety, traumatic stress, and depression. Following these videos and a brief, user-friendly self-assessment, visitors are brought to a personalized landing page featuring profiles and contact information for trained, currently available peer supporters in their immediate area, as well as a list of culturally competent, licensed mental health providers available in the case clinical support is needed.
“In law enforcement, we face unique challenges – prolonged exposure to trauma, long hours, the risk of injury or death, and much more,” said Ret. Mount Dora Police Department Chief of Police and UCF RESTORES Law Enforcement Outreach Coordinator Brett Meade, Ed.D. “These challenges build up over time and can take a real toll on your mental health, and officers need streamlined, effective tools to support them in their fight for mental wellness.”
“Our modern police force requires modern mental health solutions,” added Beidel. “With the introduction of Blueline Rescue, we’re now able to deliver personalized, accessible, easy-to-use support to our officers when they need it most.”
Blueline Rescue is based on the successful Redline Rescue platform, a model originally developed in partnership with the Florida Firefighters Safety & Health Collaborative and now managed and operated wholly by UCF RESTORES. Since its launch in 2021, the Redline Rescue portal has been leveraged by thousands of firefighters across the Sunshine State to help reduce stress and anxiety, improve mental health, and increase resilience.
With Blueline Rescue for law enforcement and Redline Rescue for fire service, Florida’s first responders can now access potentially life-saving support via their dedicated, confidential platform – on-the-go, directly from their mobile phone. UCF RESTORES plans to further extend availability of its growing peer support app program with the introduction of Goldline Rescue for telecommunicators in 2024.
How to Get Involved
- Law enforcement personnel interested in connecting to trained peer supporters and licensed mental health clinicians in their area are encouraged to visit BluelineRescue.org.
- Graduates of the UCF RESTORES REACT peer support training program and/or the NSU PALS program can join the growing community of Blueline Rescue Peer Support Providers by going to BluelineRescue.org and selecting “Register” on the homepage. Florida law enforcement officers interested in hosting a REACT training for their agency can connect with the UCF RESTORES REACT Peer Support Team at REACTPeerSupport@UCF.edu.
- For more information on the no-cost Law Enforcement Clinician Awareness Program – which provides 7 CE credits from the American Psychological Association – licensed mental health clinicians are invited to visit UCFRESTORES.com/Cultural-Competency-Law-Enforcement/.
ABOUT UCF RESTORES
Established in 2011 with the mission to “restore lives, families, and communities,” UCF RESTORES is dedicated to changing the way PTSD is understood, diagnosed and treated for first responders, active-duty and retired military, survivors of mass shootings, sexual assault and natural disasters, and more. UCF RESTORES – which includes the National Center of Excellence for First Responder Behavioral Health – proudly serves as the leading mental wellness clinic and research center for first responders in Florida and across the U.S.
UCF RESTORES’ first-of-its-kind Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) leverages a multidisciplinary treatment approach, incorporating exposure therapy, group treatment and emerging technologies to reduce the distressing symptoms that often accompany a traumatic event. This evidence-based treatment approach has seen unprecedented success, with 66% of participants with combat-related PTSD and 76% of first responders no longer meeting the diagnostic criteria for PTSD following treatment. In a recent, limited-subject clinical trial of UCF RESTORES’ proprietary Virtual Reality Treatment Tool – which also tested the effectiveness of further condensation of its IOP to just two weeks – 100% of participants no longer met the diagnostic criteria for PTSD following participation.
UCF RESTORES offers proven training programs for peer support across the firefighter and law enforcement service groups – with plans to extend to other service populations in the future – as well as no-cost cultural competency training for licensed mental health clinicians through its Cultural Competency Training programs.
Additionally, the center’s Critical Incident Response Team is often called upon to mobilize and provide support to attending first responders following a critical incident, such as a mass shooting or natural disaster. Over the years, UCF RESTORES has provided onsite “Psychological First Aid” for events such as the Pulse Nightclub shooting in 2016, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in 2018, and the Champlain Towers South building collapse in 2021.