Classrooms Day 2
Suicide Risk Management: Creating a Culture of Psychological Safety
The rate of suicide nationally has grown exponentially in the Fire Service. While there are resources
available to all first responders in their time of need, they are not being utilized. We believe that there
needs to be a culture change in leadership that will positively influence use of these “safety nets”. This
culture change can bring about a natural inclination to use behavioral/mental health resources by
making them more visible, accessible, and affordable. These resources need to be included with an
already robust focus on firefighter wellness.
This presentation will prepare attendees to initiate and implement mental/behavioral health and suicide
risk management strategies designed to elicit culture change from within the organization. We will
present methods that allow for free discussion and exploration of behavioral health. We will identify
obstacles to culture change and how to dismantle them from the top down (leadership to rank and file).
We will aid organizations in the establishment of initiatives that can be presented quickly and
effectively, as welll as policy development. Finally, we will highlight current resources that aid in the
use of and information about behavioral/mental health and suicide risk management.
Dr. Nancy Wesselink is the Founder and Chief Consultant of One Source Counseling and Employee
Assistance Services LLC in the metro Atlanta area. She has owned the company since 2002 and
currently provides services to over 4000 employees in manufacturing, utility, government, corporate and
academic settings. Specialties: Small Business EAP Specialist, Public Safety, Counseling & Training,
Organizational Policy Compliance, and Behavioral Risk Management Services. She has also provided
consultation and Behavioral Health Services to PDs, Fire, EMS, 911 and SO organizations for 25 years.
Nancy is a charter member of the Georgia Critical Incident Stress Foundation, a non-profit Critical
Incident Response Team. She received her Masters in Social Work from the University of Georgia and
holds a Doctorate in Human Services from Capella University. She is a Certified Employee Assistance
Professional and has over 25 years in counseling and training, specializing in the unique issues of Public
Safety and military personnel. She has facilitated and participated in over 100 CISD and CISM protocols
and became POST certified as a General Instructor when she worked in the Bureau of Psychological
Services at the City of Atlanta. Her first experience as a CISM team member was responding to the
Olympic bombing incident in 1996.
Nancy maintains a First Responder-focused private practice and provides Post- Certified CISM training to
PD, SO, Fire, EMS and 911 personnel with a unique Behavioral Services perspective.