Our Prototyping Journey
How we are testing our idea
"Because we have been aggressive in identifying ways to transform our economy and tackle this nationwide drug problem, we are on the front line to find the solution. However, there is much more to do. Our first responders are working tirelessly to respond to emergency calls related to this problem. We must ensure that they have the appropriate resources so that they can continue to deliver quality care." Mayor Steve Williams, Herald Dispatch
Huntington will test the effectiveness of embedding a mental healthcare professional on-site and delivering a first-responder mental health training program on the coping capabilities of first responders at their test facility.
Our idea will not only affect the city of Huntington, but any other first responders who are dealing with the opioid crisis.Scott Lemley, Executive Director Department of Development and Planning at City of Huntington
What we're discovering through testing
Testing has allowed the Huntington team to try new, unusual methods to address the problem they aim to solve. They have organized massage therapy, yoga and cooking classes for first responders. However, the sentiment remains that first responders continue to feel unrecognized for the work that they do. As a result, the team is now focused on creating positive interactions between people in long-term recovery and first responders, including acts of appreciation and thanks.
Our focus in the @bloombergdotorg #MayorsChallenge is wellness for first responders who are on front lines combating the opioid crisis. They are learning self-care for their own physical and mental health through yoga, mindfulness meditation and massage therapy. @bloombergcities11:43 AM - 18 May 2018 huntingtoncity
The team has learned that just giving first responders a seat at the table - a forum to be heard and listened to - has had an enormous impact. They were concerned that the first responders might be resistant to these conversations; in fact, they were extremely excited about many of the ideas presented, were eager to offer their own, and had a lot of appreciation for the process.
I never thought I'd see 10 police officers in a room doing yoga together.Scott Lemley, Director of Development & Planning
What we've learned
The Huntington team learned that it's crucial to build trust with first responders before implementing any new interventions. One way they have done this is by embedding a Wellness Coordinator into the police and fire department. The Wellness Coordinator acts as liaison between the city and first responders, and voices responders’ concerns and opinions back to the team confidentially. After some initial skepticism, responders are now talking to her about their wellness and mental health.
This idea wouldn’t have worked if we hadn't started by engaging our first responders. It’s been as much about how we do this as it's about what we do.Krishawna, Wellness Coordinator