Retreats

The First Responders United PTSD Retreat is a 5-day residential therapeutic program that is facilitated by mental health professionals who themselves were former veteran First Responders and who have had their own first hand experience with PTSD.

All members of the First Responders United team, including all of the mental health professionals, peer supporters, and other staff members volunteer their time and energy to helping First Responders in their recovery from PTSD.

+Do I have to be diagnosed with PTSD in order to attend the retreat? No.  Many of our participants have been diagnosed with PTSD but that is not a requirement.  However, the majority of our participants are struggling with issues such as depression, anxiety, sleep problems, addictions, relationship problems, social isolation, and chronic fatigue.

+Will my employer know that I have attended the First Responders United Retreat?Canadian law respects the privilege of confidentiality between our mental health professionals and our participants.  Therefore, information about your attendance at our retreat will only be released with your explicit written permission, unless safety becomes a concern.

Participants may attend without their organization’s knowledge by using vacation or other types of leave-credits.  The First Responders United team understands this and our first priority is that you feel comfortable and safe.  So it is your decision as to whether you disclose to anyone whether you attended the First Responders United Retreat.  Also, if any staff member from your retreat sees you in public, they will not acknowledge you; it will be up to you to go up to that person.  We do this to protect your confidentiality not to ignore you.

+What is the fee for participating in the First Responders United 5-day Residential PTSD Retreat? The fee for the First Responders United 5-day Residential PTSD Retreat is $1000. This fee includes all meals, accommodations, educational resource material, and individual and group evidence-based psychological therapy in accordance with the standards established by the Canadian Psychological Association and the American Psychological Association.

+Does First Responders United accept private health insurance or participants who are receiving health care benefits through the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB)? Each participant on the retreat will be receiving daily individual and group psychological treatment throughout the retreat.

For those participants with employee private insurance benefits (i.e., Great West Life, ManuLife, Blue Cross, Coughlin, etc.) First Responders United will issue four (4) receipts of $250.00 for one individual session for each day of the retreat, for a total of $1,000.00.  Those participants are required to pay First Responders United upfront (either through credit card, e-transfer, or cheque) at least 7 days prior to the start of their retreat.

For those participants who are receiving health care benefits through the WSIB, First Responders United (through Edward) will directly invoice the WSIB for one individual session for each day of the retreat, for a total of $1,000.00.

First Responders who do not have employee health insurance may have their municipality or organization pay for them to attend our retreat or they can also choose to pay out of their own pocket.

Our goal is to make our First Responders United PTSD Retreat available to all First Responders who want to participate.  Therefore, if there are any First Responders (i.e., volunteer firefighters) who are unable to afford the fee of our 5-day retreat, they are also welcome to attend the full retreat at no cost.

+Will I benefit by attending the First Responders United Retreat? Our First Responders United 5-day Residential PTSD Retreat provides a safe environment for healing, education, and peer support to help you understand what you have been through in your career.  By making use of these resources and a 90-day follow-up plan, you will have the opportunity to make more informed decisions about your personal and professional life.  Our retreat is not a “cure” for PTSD.  It is a very useful resource for you to continue in your recovery with your own ongoing individual therapy under the care of your own regulated mental health care professional.

+How can I sign up for the next retreat? If you are a First Responder and are interested in participating in one of our retreats, or if you would like to speak to one of our professional staff members, you can phone, email, or complete our contact page.  We can then schedule a brief, confidential intake interview via phone, Skype, or FaceTime.  This intake interview is to ensure that our retreat will be a good fit for you and that you will receive the best treatment to fit your circumstances.

+How do I get to First Responders United?After your intake interview is completed and it has been determined that our retreat is a good fit for you, we will provide you with a map and directions to our location in Cardinal, Ontario.

+What is the schedule like for the 5-days? Our retreat begins at 1:00 pm on Monday and concludes by 12:00 pm on the Friday.  We begin each day at 7:00 am for breakfast, followed by a group check-in, educational presentations, and scheduled therapeutic sessions.  Lunch is at 12:00 pm and dinner is at 5:30 pm.  Beverages and snacks are available throughout the day and evening.  Each day’s session will end at 9:00 pm or perhaps even later.

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