February 26, 2021
March 4, 2021, marks the fourth anniversary of the IAFF Center of Excellence for Behavioral Treatment and Recovery. Since opening, the Center has helped more than 1,500 IAFF members start their journey to lifelong recovery from addiction and other mental health disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). IAFF members from 49 states and four Canadian provinces have traveled to Upper Marlboro, Maryland, for the chance to heal and get back to work saving lives.
Fire fighters and paramedics come face-to-face with trauma regularly, and it can take a significant toll on their health, relationships and career. Though deeply rewarding, the stress of the job puts them at a higher risk for addiction, PTSD, depression and other mental health issues.
The IAFF Center of Excellence was established in 2017 to meet an essential need for IAFF members: a treatment facility designed with their experiences in mind. The 15-acre facility feels like a firehouse, with a fully equipped gym, firehouse-style kitchen and special touches throughout the space. Clients are surrounded by their fellow brothers and sisters, working through their struggles together in a safe and therapeutic environment.
The doctors, nurses and clinicians at the Center provide the highest quality of evidence-based treatment, backed by scientific research and an extensive understanding of fire service culture. Treatment plans are developed around a clients’ individual needs and goal for recovery, which can involve medical detox, inpatient, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient care.
Unlike many rehab facilities, which are licensed to treat mental illness only if it co-occurs with an addiction, the Center of Excellence is dually licensed. This means you don’t need to have an addiction to receive treatment for PTSD, depression, complicated grief, anxiety or any other mental health condition.
While staff at the Maryland facility continue to help clients transform their lives, a new IAFF Center of Excellence facility is in development to open in California in 2022. By making it even easier to travel for specialized care, the Center can reach even more fire service personnel in need of support.
If you are considering help for yourself or a loved one, a healthier future is waiting for you. Getting treatment for an addiction or co-occurring disorder can be the first step to lifelong recovery. Call the IAFF Center of Excellence for a no-obligation, free and confidential screening.