First Eyes® Proactive Mental Health Program
Why was the program created?
The First Eyes® Proactive Mental Health Program was created by Dan Bowers, a retired Detective Sergeant from the Ontario Provincial Police, who has been living with PTSD for over 25 years. For the greater part of those years, he went undiagnosed. From this, Dan learned that in addition to the impact to his own mental health, there was also a tremendous impact on those closest to him, especially his family unit. As a result, Dan created First Eyes® in the hope of saving relationships, families, friends and lives.
While there are a large number of programs aimed at helping those “after” a diagnosis, no one has addressed the matter from a “proactive” approach. Dan saw this as a large gap in the mental health system and in April of 2015, with the help of an incredible advisory team, the First Eyes® Program’s wheels were set in motion.
Who is this program designed for?
The program is designed for an “at-risk” person and their “partner”.
Why partners? A study by Dr. Anna Stowe Alrutz (University of Auckland) found that 20-35% of partners experience major symptoms of secondary traumatic stress (STS) and 20% were at risk of possible PTSD from it.
Who is an ”at-risk” person?
Anyone, in any line of work, who is exposed to trauma as a result of their employment.
Who is a ”partner”?
This is the person who the “at-risk” person will create a plan with. A “partner” is most likely the first person who will notice changes in the behaviour of the “at-risk” person and will also likely be the person to initiate the plan in a time of crisis. The “partner” should be the one who most often sees the “at-risk” person on a regular basis.
The “partner” can be a wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend, close family member, best friend or other adult.
How is the program set up?
The program is a 6-hour workshop which includes a meal period and 2 snack breaks. First Eyes® will provide couples with a workbook and then lead them through an 8-module program to create their own proactive plan. The program is interactive and couples are encouraged to ask questions at any time.
The program is lead by Dan Bowers or one of the six facilitators that Dan has hand-selected. Each of the six has a “lived experience” background and will therefore have first-hand knowledge of the effects of PTSD and/or other related mental health injuries/illnesses.
Make a Difference
What are the benefits of the program?
It is widely agreed that early detection and intervention go a long way in minimizing the impact that a mental health injury/illness can have on the “at-risk” person and those closest to them. First Eyes® believes that this proactive approach can and will save lives.
Couples will continue to have access to the First Eyes® team should they require additional information, guidance or support at any time following the workshop.
From an employer’s perspective, there is a much greater chance of getting their employee back to work sooner. In addition, the employer will get an employee who is both healthy and happy to have their family and friends still intact. Of great significance, the probability that the employee will return to work with alcohol and/or drug-related concerns or behavioural problems is greatly diminished.
How is the program evaluated?
A pre-workshop and post-workshop evaluation will be completed by those attending and they will also be re-interviewed 6 months after the workshop. The evaluation questions have been formulated by our research team from the University of Ottawa, with support from the University of Regina.
First Eyes® will be constantly monitored to ensure that it is meeting the needs and concerns of all involved with the program.
President/CEO Educe Consulting Inc.
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For more information or to apply for this program