First-responders are on the front lines daily, dealing with everything from terrorist threats to fatal car accidents to murders. In today’s new world, these modern-day heroes face more hate and disasters than ever. Due to the stigma of mental health within the first responder culture, many bury their feelings and use substances to cope with anxiety, depression, anger, and fear. Recent events related to COVID-19 have increased their exposure to life-threatening danger while at the same time, police officers, in particular, are facing scrutiny for on job performance, including racial bias. With all of this pressure, the need for mental health support for first responders has become a top focus and hot buzz topic. However, very few mental health and addiction facilities exist exclusively for the first-responder community.
Quest 2 Recovery is a drug & alcohol addiction treatment center in the Antelope Valley, California, just outside of Los Angeles. Their program is uniquely designed to treat First Responders with customized care that targets their needs in rehab. Quest 2 Recovery recently opened the doors to allow The Recover and essential first responder organizations to come in for a tour of the facility to understand the healing process for first responders suffering from PTSD and substance abuse.
“We opened our facility for a few hours to give support agencies a first-hand look at what we have built and how we can best serve the needs of people on the front lines every day.” stated Co-Founder Armen Melikyan, “When we started our treatment program two years ago, our goal was to create a safe environment where vets and first responders could come and get to the root of what’s driving their addictions.
When we met our clinical director, Amber Carra, LMFT, she knew we could put together a team that understood first responders well and includes treatment that would be most effective for their needs. She had a history of working in the first responder community and grew up in a first responder family. She taught us that first responders need a very different kind of care from civilians because of their training and resistance to being vulnerable.”
Danielle Buckley, a Special Victims Unit Prosecutor for 18 years with the State of New Jersey in the child sex crimes department, attended the event and had nothing but great and genuine things to say about her time at the center. For 18 years, she struggled with burying the things she saw and heard and began to self-medicate.
She explained how Quest’s program is, “Tailored to first responders and unlike any other treatment center, actually understood the unique needs of a first responder,” and Buckley added that she was “blown away by their compassion and knowledge.”
Quest’s program is designed to address mental health head-on by bringing the symptoms of PTSD, anxiety, and depression to light and guide the recovering individual into a better healing place.
Deborah Scott, of the Birdwell Foundation, also shared her experience with the Recover, stating, “I had an amazing and incredible experience during my tour of Quest Recovery at the Open House on July 30, 2020. I would encourage anyone who is struggling with PTSD and addiction to treat under the impressive, compassionate Care of the entire Quest 2 Recovery Staff. They have covered every vital area concerning the personal needs of vets and first responders for a full recovery. “
Amber Carra, LMFT. Clinical director of Quest 2 Recovery explains why she has such a close connection with this program, “I am so proud of what we have accomplished in the last two years. We worked very hard to research different therapeutic modalities that have the most success for PTSD, particularly with first responders. We consciously built those into our treatment for substance abuse to provide a high level of service. We also aligned ourselves with first responder support agencies to better understand how the police, fire, EMT, dispatch, and vet communities were evolving and to help our clients better overcome the challenges and stigma associated with getting help too late. We have been lucky to be able to bring on a really dynamic team of care providers who understand the social and emotional dynamics of the first responder culture, either because they came from first responder families or had a degree of specialty in working with people with high exposure to trauma and plan to continue to build.”
Million Heir Williams From Help for Heroes also shared her experience with The Recover stating, “Upon my visit to Quest 2 Recovery, I was greeted before getting outside of my vehicle by a welcoming committee. As I exited my car, I was introduced to several staff members and taken to an incredible oasis of mindfulness and meditation with a cooling mist as I lay across the yoga mat. Everyone I met was entirely professional, an expert in their chosen field, and the atmosphere was clean, warm, and welcoming. I would highly recommend their services for anyone searching for recovery in the right atmosphere and climate. It is a team of experts who are loving and compassionate about helping individuals reach a state of wholeness.”
We had a chance to learn from Michael Zornberg, an outreach coordinator for All In Solutions Counseling Centers located in New Jersey and Florida that Quest 2 Recovery goes beyond the initial phase of treatment to connect first responders to family and long term outpatient counseling centers when they return home because “re-integration is crucial to sobriety”. Continuing care can be a lifelong need for some addicts. Zornberg stated, “Our experience with Quest 2 Recovery has been nothing short of amazing. The thought process behind Quest is methodically planned out with both major aspects: clinical and operational, so the client has a positive experience from the second they enter the program and set up for success when they leave Quest.”
“All In Solutions Counseling Center is proud to partner with Quest 2 Recovery to offer a full continuum of care for each client that Quest treats at a detox and residential level of care. Here at All In Solutions, we offer PHP and IOP, which gives clients the ability to live independently – every step of the way throughout early recovery.”
Quest 2 Recovery has paved the way for specialized Detox and Residential Inpatient care for the first responder community. Open 365 days a year, their founders understand that the stresses of being a first responder can be draining and encourage anyone struggling with addiction or mental health issues to reach out for help.