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First Responder Wellness Week Day 2: The power of peer support

Simple gestures, like checking in after difficult calls or noticing changes in behavior, can make a significant difference

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Today’s focus is on the transformative power of peer support. Reflect on a moment when you faced a difficult call, home struggles, or overwhelming work stress — perhaps all simultaneously. Ideally, you sought support from peers, chaplains or agency clinicians who helped you identify and address your challenges, promoting healthy coping and self-care to realign your life. It’s a universal truth: at some point, everyone needs extra support.

Recent studies underscore the value of a well-trained, agency-supported peer support team, revealing that 91.6% of participants found peer support beneficial. A compelling study on challenge perception demonstrated that simply having someone by your side can make a task seem 20% less daunting. When this presence evolves into active support — through conversation, validation and encouragement — the impact is profound. This underscores the importance of having a support system, highlighting that companionship alone can significantly alter our perception of challenges.

Encouraging proactive support, regardless of your role — whether as a peer supporter, colleague, supervisor or chief — is crucial. Simple gestures, like checking in after difficult calls or noticing changes in behavior, can make a significant difference. Offering support, sharing experiences or just being there for someone can light a path to recovery. The essence of our message is clear: reach out, offer support and be a beacon of hope for each other. In times of need, remember to seek support and utilize the resources available to you, embracing the collective effort to care for one another.

Get more resources to share with your team at the First Responder Wellness Week resource center.

Dr. Jaime (Brower) Archuleta is a licensed clinical psychologist working out of Denver, Colorado, and is a Board Certified Specialist in Police & Public Safety Psychology, American Board of Professional Psychology. She is the Founder and Chair of Brower Psychological Services. She now serves as the Vice President of Peer Support and Clinician Training and Membership for Lexipol. Dr. Brower founded the National Emergency Responder and Public Safety Center (NERPSC, LLC), acquired by Lexipol in early 2023.

Dr. Brower has devoted her career to working with those in law enforcement, corrections, detentions, fire, military and other high-stress occupations, as well as ensuring the health and well-being of their family members. She further specializes in risk and threat assessment, school violence and hostile workplace investigations. Dr. Brower is particularly passionate about training and consulting with agencies regarding best practices for enhancing resiliency and wellness. Dr. Brower is the proud recipient of the 2019 CIT Instructor of the Year award!