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From EAP to BHAP: a conceptual framework to develop and implement a comprehensive behavioral health access program within the fire service

Kellie ODare (Institute of Public Health, Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA)
Chris Bator (Coral Springs-Parkland Fire Department, Coral Springs, Florida, USA)
Lance Butler (City of Tallahassee Fire Department, Tallahassee, Florida, USA)
Jeffrey Orrange (City of Orlando Fire Department, Orlando, Florida, USA)
Lauren Porter (Institute of Public Health, Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA)
Michelle Rehbein (Institute of Public Health, Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA)
John Dilks (Institute of Public Health, Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA)
Dana R. Dillard (University of West Florida, Pensacola, Florida, USA)
Erin King (University of West Florida, Pensacola, Florida, USA)
Joseph Herzog (University of West Florida, Pensacola, Florida, USA)
Robert Rotunda (University of West Florida, Pensacola, Florida, USA)

International Journal of Emergency Services

ISSN: 2047-0894

Article publication date: 7 February 2023

Issue publication date: 23 November 2023

72

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to articulate the results of a comprehensive literature review and grassroots outreach with first responder organizations to present an operationalized framework for organizations to utilize as a blueprint in developing customized behavioral health access program (BHAP) programs.

Design/methodology/approach

Historically, authorities having jurisdiction (AHJ)over fire service organizations have primarily offered behavioral health interventions through Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) or commercial insurance carriers. These programs are necessary but may prove insufficient to meet the scope and needs of trauma-exposed firefighters and the firefighters' families.

Findings

A BHAP is a comprehensive and operationalized plan which clearly specifies the mental health services fire department members and families need, where those services are available within their communities and levels and standards of care that are expected in the provision of these services.

Originality/value

The BHAP is becoming a world standard of behavioral health care for first responders. While some fire service agencies are beginning to create BHAP guides, developing and implementing a BHAP can be time consuming and overwhelming, particularly for departments with limited internal and external resources. While the results of this review focus on BHAP within the fire service, this framework is applicable across all first responder professions.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to acknowledge the 2nd Alarm Project, the Florida Firefighters Safety and Health Collaborative, the University of Central Florida RESTORES program, the City of Coral Springs/ Coral Springs-Parkland Fire Department and the City of Tallahassee Fire Department for their significant contributions to this work.

Citation

ODare, K., Bator, C., Butler, L., Orrange, J., Porter, L., Rehbein, M., Dilks, J., Dillard, D.R., King, E., Herzog, J. and Rotunda, R. (2023), "From EAP to BHAP: a conceptual framework to develop and implement a comprehensive behavioral health access program within the fire service", International Journal of Emergency Services, Vol. 12 No. 3, pp. 318-342. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJES-11-2021-0078

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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