Fairfax County opened a public safety wellness center for the county’s first responders Monday. It’s a first of its kind in the NoVA area.
Officials said the focus is on providing support for mental health and well-being.
“Police officers and firefighters see things that are not normal, and they see things that are not normal at a rate much higher than the rest of the population,” Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis said in a news release.
“To be able to have a place where our officers can go and talk about their experiences, to make sure they are in the best place mentally, to be able to serve this community, is the absolute way forward.”
According to the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, “30 percent of first responders develop behavioral health conditions including, but not limited to, depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).” That’s compared to 20 percent in the general population.
The new wellness center facility is located at 12015 Lee Jackson Memorial Hwy. in Fairfax. It will serve police officers, firefighters, and other public safety staff.
The police department said the programs provide a “holistic approach” and are unique nationally.
The center houses a number of mental health professionals and additional resources. There are areas for both private counseling and group counseling.
“We understand that each person’s journey toward wellness is unique, and we are here to provide support every step of the way, as this wellness center will have something for everyone,” said Fairfax County Police Department Health and Wellness Division Director Vera Daniel.
Featured image courtesy Fairfax County Police Department
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