General Health Care Social Services

NAMI North Texas now offers dedicated help for first responders

Written by Mindia Whittier

The new peer program provides a stigma-free mental health support network.

NAMI North Texas (National Alliance on Mental Health) announces it has launched the Overwatch Peer Support Program (OPS Program), which provides no-cost support services for first responders and frontline healthcare workers outside their work environment.

The new initiative was created in response to the Frontline Wellness Initiative being implemented by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). It was developed in cooperation with Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute and One Tribe Foundation. The program, which is the first of its kind in North Texas, is led by fellow peers who have gone through support training with NAMI North Texas. It will be offered at locations throughout the DFW metroplex and surrounding areas.

“When you look at the numbers, it is undeniable that first responders and frontline healthcare workers need support,” said Christopher Payne, LCSW, Program Director at NAMI North Texas. “The OPS Program was created to mitigate the pressure and trauma so that first responders and frontline healthcare workers can stabilize their lives and regain a sense of normalcy.”

Suicide rates among first responders are higher than line-of-duty deaths. Prior to COVID, various research studies show a 50% to 150% greater risk of suicidal behavior in first responders and frontline healthcare workers than in the general public. With the impact of COVID, these numbers are believed certain to rise.

Founded in 1982, NAMI North Texas is a chartered affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Serving Dallas, Collin, Denton, and Rockwall counties, NAMI North Texas provides at-no-cost advocacy, education, support, and public awareness for individuals with mental illness, as well as for their families.

Participants can register for the OPS Program online.

About the author

Mindia Whittier