This story originally appeared on nbc12.com
A new program by South University in Richmond aims to support some of the city’s first responders on the job.
This month, South University’s Richmond campus unveiled a new partnership with the Richmond Ambulance Authority to provide bi-monthly training and support for staff members focusing on mental and physical health.
“A workforce that’s serving the community of Richmond to be able to handle the things that they have to see,” said Jason Crittenden, campus director for academic affairs at South University in Richmond. “Our job is to go in and provide them some tools that they can put in their toolbox to cope with that trauma.”
As part of this program, Crittenden said members of the university’s clinical mental health counseling team will help essential workers work through the stressful situations they might encounter in the field.
“Talk with the folks in the field that are in the call centers that hear and see those kinds of things that bring trauma to the forefront,” he said. “We want them to basically walk away from those conversations with a greater ability to manage and cope with seeing those types of traumas.”
Crittenden also said this program will also train RAA staff members to stay physically healthy on the job.
“Give them some tips and some tricks in order to lift people the right way, to get up and stretched out every now and then so they don’t hurt themselves,” Crittenden said.
Crittenden said the first round of training started this month as they looked for more ways to help frontline workers.
“More than ever, after and during the pandemic, we’re more prone to more physical, mental and emotional injuries,” said Chad Greedan, a captain at Richmond Ambulance Authority.
Greedan believes this program will be beneficial to support staff members as they help the community.
“Them assisting us is going to aid our providers in providing a better service to the community,” he said.