Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $250,000)
This program will implement a pilot project to study the effectiveness of evidenced, therapeutic techniques for correctional officers to improve their overall health and trained ability to regulate themselves, when managing and interacting with populations such as people with mental health disorders or co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. Breathwork is a set of practices involving conscious control of breathing for therapeutic purposes. Breathwork has been proven effective among other high stress professions to include first responders and fire fighters. Incorporating breathwork practices into daily routines can help improve mental and physical health, enhance cognitive function, and promoting overall health and well-being. This technique can reduce the risk of negative outcomes associated with chronic stress and burnout. The Collaborative Crisis Response and Intervention Training Program creates an opportunity to support officers as well as respondents and inmates. The program will 1) Perform a problem analysis of training and deployment policies and practices, in collaboration with local stakeholders and agency leadership, using relevant data (officer baseline response, bio-metric data, improved response with population served). The applicant will use this analysis to understand the training, partnership, resource, and deployment needs of both it and its community. 2) Create, design, and implement a training program. 3) Determine who are the best qualified officers to train and recruit. This program will work to staff a crisis response team that is trained and capable to provide support to fellow officers in a preventive capacity, resilience training and crisis intervention training during or after a critical incident. To conduct this study, three hundred (300) WADOC staff will be evaluated, including community corrections officers and custody officers working in various custody levels from across the state. WADOC will identify 30-40 people to become certified trainers for the breathwork method. Trainers will work in pairs to train the 300 staff identified as participants for a total of 340 trained individuals across 110 work locations and 31 counites. Upon completion of the pilot study WADOC will utilize the trainers to further train additional staff on proper breathwork and replicate positive results.