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Kathy Beazley
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NAMI North Texas_Outreach, 12.10.2021_Photo courte Photo courtesy of NAMI North Texas

In response to the Frontline Wellness Initiative being implemented by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), NAMI North Texas is launching the Overwatch Peer Support Program (OPS Program) on Friday, March 18. Developed in cooperation with Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute and One Tribe Foundation, this no-cost program provides support services for first responders and frontline healthcare workers outside of their work environment, and is led by fellow peers who have gone through support training with NAMI North Texas. The first of its kind in North Texas, this peer program will be offered at various locations throughout the DFW metroplex and surrounding areas. Those interested in participating in the OPS Program may register at www.naminorthtexas.org/frontline-wellness.

“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 certain to rise.

Founded in 1982, NAMI North Texas, a 501(c)(3) tax-deductible nonprofit organization, 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. For more information, visit www.naminorthtexas.org.

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