Organizations are only as strong as the employees who serve in them and employees are only as strong as the people who hold them.

We’ve known that for a long time: If we look after our people, if we create a culture of collective effervescence, our teams will be strong, committed, and healthy. Police, Fire, Military, Corrections, and EMS crews experience some of the most traumatic situations on the “front-line” in their job. There is also the continued focus on the “stigma” of talking about mental health and the often-feared PTSD in the first responder world. Let me be clear about one thing: PTSD is NOT a mental illness. It is a psychological injury. Just like a physical injury, if left untreated, it will cause significant pain and disruption. And here’s the kicker – it affects the whole family. Most importantly, it takes a family-effort to heal. There has been a long line of resources developed for the serving member, but very little effort has been directed to the support systems.

This course was created for all the heroes who do this brave work of helping people at their most vulnerable — those who do frontline work (paid or volunteer) and those who hold them. We’ll talk about how this job can affect a whole family — and remind each of you why you matter to our communities, and mostly to each other. 

This course is about trauma, when and why it can be a big deal (and what to do about it). We’ll talk all about relationship and connection and timing. And we’ll wrap up this epic course with a plan to help each of you be better than you’ve ever been, and what the “next steps” in shifting culture might look like. I added a final module just for those of you with kids, to watch with them. It’s short and packed with some of the things that first responder families face that are unique, just to you.

Hi, I’m Jody. I believe in two things.

No matter how wonderful. But wherever you are, you need to be there. Second, I believe that everyone has a “story” and it is this story that guides your relationships. Understanding your own story can help you make sense of where you’ve come from and it often help in the writing of all future chapters that await.

My story? I was always intrigued by relationships. And I thought for a long time “helping people” meant fixing things. It was my “job” in my family. Slowly, along the way, I have learned that it is not about having the answer. It’s not about fixing. If you can connect, however, and truly understand someone’s story – that is where the power lies. In the relationship.

Many moons ago, I worked as a civilian member with our Canadian Police force – the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. It was during those years that I learned the most about trauma. After contemplating a career as a police officer, I decided I’d be better suited talking about it than being the one wielding a weapon. The focus of my dissertation was police marriages and the effect that organizations can have on relationship. I then shifted focus for a while, working on a locked psychiatrtic inpatient unit for kids – where I learned a boatload more about trauma – and how very little we get right in this space. And then I became a wife. And then a mother to a son, followed by boy-girl twins. Then I started a private practiced and coached hockey. I wrote a book called Kids These Days and then started talking on stages around this country about trauma. And emotional regulation. And relationships. First responders and their families have always had my heart. I’m so glad that in the middle of a global pandemic, there was time to put some of those thoughts on paper, with a few videos, wrapped up in a little course to get this conversation started. In these modules you will find some of the things I know to be true, some of the things I’d like to learn more about (from those of you on the front lines), and a lot of room for discussion. And growth. And to serve those of you that do this holy work, and the families who hold you. It is a honour. I can’t wait to hear what you think.

Everything You Need to Start the Conversation

Designed and Built For You

This course is made for all first responders, paid and volunteer, including firefighters, police, military, corrections, mental health workers, 911 operators, and emergency medical services and their spouses and supporters. The initial purpose was to support the spouses specifically, as there is no service in this country that has created a formal program for spouses. We have learned, in our early days, that the conversation needs to involve everyone who wants to be a part of it – you’re all heroes to us. 

Clear, actionable advice

- 7 knowledge and focused modules.

- PDF and Video formats.

- Step-by-step guides through each focus area. 

Rewind and reconnect as needed, or choose just a few ideas and conversation starters, then watch as small changes add up to new conversations.

Conversation & action starters

Start small. Breathe. 

Take the first step towards understanding and reconnecting with the loved ones in our lives. 

More than ideas, the focus is on what we all can do in the most practical of approaches and ways to start.

What They Are Saying About the Course

Carly Tatomir, Advanced Care Paramedic

"This course has something for everyone. For first responders it offers reflection alongside introspection and for people that love a first responder perspective and insight. For kiddos of first responders it offers the opportunity to be involved which is such an amazing gift."

K. Thunberg

"This course provides invaluable knowledge and insight for first responders and their families. Dr. Jody Carrington breathes life into the content and provides a context to gain a deeper understanding about what’s involved in the lives of first responders and their families. "

Police Officer, Pacific North West, USA

“Dr. Carrington hits the nail on the head in relation to dealing with trauma and mental wellbeing for First Responders in the 21st Century. Hello Hero is appropriate not only for the First Responder but our loved ones as well.”

Course Curriculum

  Introduction and Overview
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  Module 1: Hello Hero - What it means to do this work and love someone who does?
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  Module 2: Trauma- What is PTSD and Why No One Wants It.
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  Module 3: What Do We Do About it - What You Need as a First Responder and Those Who Love Them
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  Module 4: Leading the Charge - A Culture Shift is Where We Need to Start
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  Module 5: The Future Heroes of the World - A note for those who’s moms and dads are first responder
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  Sign-Off and Next Steps
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