Our company specializes in treating first responders and public safety professionals, and we are committed to creating a solid therapeutic relationship with the first responders we treat. We understand how essential it is for first responders to maintain their overall health and wellness. We also understand how demanding the work of first responders is.
At First Responder Wellness, we exclusively treat first responders because we believe that they deserve specialized care and treatment. Our team is passionate about comprehensive treatment that addresses unique mental and behavioral health concerns. We aim to ensure that first responders feel secure and cared for while in our care.
We believe that first responders can heal and thrive in their careers and personal lives with the proper support. Our team of professionals has a long history of connection to the first responder profession. We want all of our clients to feel understood and confident that they are receiving the care they need.
At First Responder Wellness, we are committed to confidential, trusted, and effective treatment. We offer multiple treatment options to suit each client’s specific needs, and we encourage building peer relationships while in our care. It is important to remember that help is always available, and you are not alone.
Stephen Odom PhD, MFT
Founder // Chief Clinical Officer
I have been a healthcare provider and leader for the past 30 years. I’ve worked in large not for profit healthcare systems managing behavioral health and addiction treatment services, consulting in emergency rooms and medical floors and providing direct care. When I was leading and providing services in the dual diagnosis program at El Camino hospital in the San Francisco Bay Area I had the opportunity to begin working with nurses in treatment. It was transformative for me to see them as both colleagues and as patients. Observing how they had a difficult time transitioning from being the nurse to being the patient and how that need to help others never went away. By creating a nurses only program we were able to create a safe space for these healers to drop their defenses and do the work of recovery. Since then I have created programs specifically for physicians and other professionals and began building a first responder program 12 years ago. While running all the behavioral health addiction services at Hoag Hospital in Southern California, we were able to begin serving a large law enforcement department but weren’t able to separate the LEO population completely from the other patients. Time after time, the officer/patient shut down in group because they couldn’t relate to the other participants. The need for first responder only care became ever more clear in my mind. I created Simple Recovery in 2012 and spent 6 years building our services to focus on First Responder Only treatment. In 2018, First Responder Wellness was born.
The underlying concept for first responder treatment is based on years of experience treating those who are the healers, the helpers and the public servants on the front lines; when they get help in an environment where the only other patients are just like them, the walls come down and the healing happens sooner. These special heroes have a place where their unique careers are no longer a defense against looking inside because everyone else in the room is a special hero too.
My interest in working with first responders is born of my family background. My father served in Vietnam as an army physician. When he returned, he opened a “drug free clinic” to help those who had suffered from PTSD and addiction in the early 1970s. David Smith, the founder of the Haight Ashbury clinics in San Francisco, flew out and trained my dad on detox protocols and stayed in our home when I was a little kid. My father’s oldest brother – my uncle – was career army and served as the director of the NSA and retired as a Major General. His son – my cousin – recently retired as a Brigadier General and was the regimental commander of the Rangers. My step brother was a DEA agent, and we have a former police chief, and a few volunteer firefighters, too. The rest of my family is comprised of health care providers and educators; physicians, psychologists, teachers and administrators. Our dinner table and reunion conversations have often focused on the need to provide help for the helpers and first responders.
Having a deep and comprehensive knowledge of how to best provide behavioral health treatment services over the course of a few decades has prepared me to bring my very best to first responder only treatment. There is certainly something noble and necessary in our desire to address the very real mental health and addiction problems that permeate the public safety profession. The risks taken, the tragedies witnessed and the relentless need for presence around the clock create the recipe that results in post-traumatic stress, anxiety, depression, and the need to self-medicate with alcohol, substances, and many other unhealthy behaviors. We have built a program that also understands the effects of a public safety career on the family and address the entire system so healing can begin. Please contact us – we know how to help.