New program provides mental health resources and injury prevention training to Richmond Ambulance Authority

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) – A new program at 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 to staff members focusing on mental and physical health.

“A workforce that serves the community of Richmond to be able to manage the things it needs to see,” said Jason Crittenden, campus director for academic affairs at South University in Richmond. “Our job is to step in and provide them with tools that they can put in their toolbox to deal with that trauma.”

As part of the program, Crittenden said members of the university’s clinical mental health counseling team will help essential workers deal with stressful situations they might encounter in the field.

“Talk to the people on the ground who are in the call centers who are hearing and seeing these kinds of things that bring trauma to the forefront,” he said. “We want them to essentially walk away from those conversations with a greater ability to manage and deal with those kinds 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 tricks for lifting people the right way, to get them up and stretching every once in a while so they don’t hurt themselves,” Crittenden said.

Crittenden said the first round of trainings began this month as they look for other ways to help frontline workers.

“More than ever, after and during the pandemic, we are more prone to more physical, mental and emotional injury,” said Chad Greedan, captain at the Richmond Ambulance Authority.

Greedan believes this program will be beneficial in supporting staff members as they help the community.

“Having them help us is going to help our suppliers provide better service to the community,” he said.

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