Free statewide support group helps educators and first responders handle challenges of pandemic


LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WANE) – A free weekly support group is aiming to help teachers and first responders with mental health and coping with working during the pandemic.

Valley Oaks Health in Lafayette holds two statewide, weekly virtual support groups for first responders and educators. The groups discuss the struggles of being on the frontlines through the COVID-19 pandemic while giving participants a place to connect with those who are going through the same things.

“I feel like it’s allowing them to have a chance to just validate and find some type of normalcy in what they’re experiencing. Which helps them realize they’re not alone and there are other people out there in the same situation as they are,” said Kim Denton, masters prepared therapist with Valley Oaks Health.

While Denton says she does not go into the meetings with a topic selected, she says the topics discussed seems to reach all who participate.

“The whole point is for these groups to be about the first responders [or educators], and for them to discuss what is on their hearts and their minds at that time. It seems as though a casual conversation picks up some type of theme throughout the group.” Denton said.

Past topics have included: policies and procedures in response to the COVID mandates, leadership, the stress on families, the demand in calls, how different departments are related on calls, and more.

Support group schedule:

  • First responders: Monday from 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. Register here.
  • Public educators: Tuesday from 4 p.m. – 5 p.m. Register here.

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