What does it mean to be 'validated' or 'evidence-based'?
Validated, or evidence-based, indicates that the wellness tool has been tested by the intended audience (in this case, first responders) and that the results support specific wellness measures. We are committed to providing only the best wellness tools with evidence showing exactly what they do, who they are specifically suited for, and how well they work. Some of these tools have been created by our team and others have not, but if they are listed here then they have been scientifically vetted and approved (or are currently undergoing the research process).
The HEROES Project
Suicide is preventable. For many, so is PTSD, depression, and overwhelming stress. The challenge is in proving it. After all, how can there be evidence that suicide was prevented when the people who are living their best lives are not considering suicide? The best and closest answer is found in the scientific study of the positive psychological characteristics that work together to resist mental illness. Those positive psychological characteristics make up the foundation of the HEROES Project.
Created by Dr. A Renee Thornton, HEROES was specifically built to appeal to an audience of people who want help but are not comfortable seeking it in a traditional counselor’s office. These same people are exposed to repetitive traumatic events, primarily due to their choice of occupation, and soldier on without much in the way of recovery time. Theirs is a unique mentality of grit, independence, and stubbornness that expressly qualifies them to be heroes to people in need. At the same time, this same temperament is susceptible to living the life of an isolated chameleon…the dangers of which are seen frequently in high suicide rates, depression, and substance abuse.
Police, firefighters, and military veterans have tested HEROES and declared it to be an unexpected avenue for relieving unresolved mental conflict. The research supports their claims, showing a marked decrease in PTSD, depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms post-training. What’s more, their relief continued for years after they completed the HEROES Project training course.
More powerful than symptom relief, however, is the growth these men and women expressed in the very psychological skills known to be necessary in resisting trauma: hope, self-efficacy, resilience, and optimism. The work they did – and continue to do, for HEROES is a lifelong project that’s born in training but lives on in perpetuity – sharpens their tools, motivates them to seek out happiness, and practically fuels the control they have over their lives.
Delivered virtually, HEROES consists of a weekly lecture with homework assigned, and lasts approximately eight weeks. Trainees access the material anonymously and from the comfort of home. Each lesson is scientifically-grounded and filled with practical tools that are applied at home, at work, and in community interactions. The result is a healthier, more engaged person with a new lease on life.
This course is led by Dr. Thornton and Sergeant Ryan, an original student of HEROES who credits his life to the preventative resources he learned in the project and continued to master long after its end. Since completing HEROES, Sergeant Ryan has experienced a perfect storm of repetitive trauma. His life, like yours, is precious. Live it well.