The Behavioral Health section of the Wellness Center is focused on promoting and preserving mental and emotional well-being. We have a range of no-cost services available to you and your family, including mental health counseling, Peer Support, & Chaplaincy. This Behavioral Health section of the website will provide you with information and resources to help you maintain optimal mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Please don't hesitate to reach out to any of us. We welcome you!
Public safety personnel are at an increased risk for stress related issues, including PTSD. While PTSD is linked to trauma exposure, not everyone who experiences or is exposed to trauma will have symptoms severe enough to warrant a diagnosis of PTSD.
The IAFF Center of Excellence issued a recent article that discussed four factors to help support the spouses of paramedics. Being the spouse of paramedics can be extremely tough and these four pointers can help build harmonious and supportive relationships.
Every September, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recognizes September as recovery month in efforts to provide education about mental and substance use disorders and bring awareness to the fact that people can and do recover!
Family members and loved ones of fire fighters have one of the most important roles in the fire service - being the support to someone who spends his/her time saving others.
It is important that we put our mask on first before assisting others with their mask. Afterall, we can't fully be there for others if we can't be there for ourselves.
Dr. Ebony Butler is a new addition to the City of Austin family. She is a staff psychologist servicing the brave and courageous men and women of AFD/ATCEMS. Dr. Butler is a native of Jackson, MS and has a passion for working with our nation’s best heroes. She began training with the various VA medical centers in 2009 until working as a full-time staff psychologist with the VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Healthcare System from 2014-2016. Dr. Butler proudly comes to the AFD/ATCEMS team with a passion and eagerness to continue assisting heroes who selfishly serve the citizens of their own communities. With a background in interpersonal trauma, trauma recovery, emotions management, and crisis management, Dr. Butler is excited to be a resource and source of confidence for the men and women of AFD/ATCEMS. Dr. Butler is sometimes a “foodie” and loves to occasionally try local eateries (she’s actually accumulating a list, so if you know of any good spots, tell her!). She is gaining a love for outdoor running/hiking (when it’s not too hot) and is happy to settle in to Austin with her partner and their two dogs, Jax and Cali. Dr. Butler is available for consultation and therapy.
Dr. Marc Kruse is the Staff Psychologist for AFD and Austin-Travis County EMS and an Assistant Professor (Research) in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Texas A&M Health Science Center. Dr. Kruse is a licensed clinical psychologist who earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. Before joining AFD/ATCEMS, Marc worked at the Central Texas VA Center of Excellence for Research on Returning War Veterans. Dr. Kruse has also conducted clinical research on firefighters and first-responders from across the country. He lives in Georgetown with his wife and two children.