HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — A program in Huntington that works to address compassion fatigue and burnout in first responders relating to the opioid epidemic is set to take off.

City officials announced a rebrand of the program with in-depth plans, a new name called The Compass and launch of a program-related app and website.

The program was set up in October and funded through a $1 million award that the city received in 2018 through Bloomberg Philanthropies’ U.S. Mayor’s Challenge.

Amy Berner, the program coordinator with the city said they applied for the award because of the work Huntington was doing with substance abuse disorder but the failure to address first responders’ health.

“We saw that they were really needing resources in regards to mental health and wellness. Both physical and mental wellness to take care of themselves,” she said.

The program will look specifically at training, and programs for first responders and their families.

The Compass will also make policy changes in the city relating to self-care and wellness, including a brand new wellness center being built in town for first responders.

According to Berner, Huntington found that first responders are more likely to die from suicide than in the line of duty.

The website and app launched on Wednesday will feature local, state and national resources. Berner hopes that first responders will be able to keep up with the news on the app.

“There’s a calendar of events so they can see what is going on,” she said.”They can register for those events online. It also provides resources for our first responders.”

The $1 million grant will be portioned out through three years and Huntington hopes it becomes reciprocal to not just the opioid epidemic but to other categories such as natural disasters, school shootings, and fires.

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