Mental Health Support for First Responders

Dristhi Bend is pleased to welcome Melissa Thompson into our fold as our newest therapist. Melissa has a special, and much needed, niche in working with the first responder population and their families. This is her life’s passion, and we are honored to have her talents at our practice!


Melissa has worked with law enforcement over the last ten years in various capacities. During this time, she witnessed the impossible job we ask first responders to take on and the extreme amounts of trauma they experience. In Melissa’s words, “The job slowly tears away overtime at that person. At the end of a career, if you spent that whole time experiencing trauma and you’re not taking care of it, what do you have? When you go home to your family and you’re replaying all of these horrible things—you can’t fully be there.”


Melissa realizes that the job itself is never going to change. First responders will always have trauma and duress tied to their job. So if the career isn’t going to change, we need to enable first responders to make the career more sustainable. Her ultimate goal with this population is to give them tools to better process stress so they can enjoy life without falling victim to the high statistics of alcoholism, domestic abuse and suicide.


We cannot talk about first responder mental health without addressing the stigma attached to seeking help. We’re very fortunate to live in a community with progressive departments that have bridged the mental health gap. However, there is still a stigma, and this cannot be solved overnight. Melissa has formed a great relationship with many of the agencies in Deschutes County and hopes that her understanding of the first responder culture, barriers, and difficulty of the job make her a trustworthy source for help.


Additionally, Melissa is a support for family members of first responders. The secondary trauma spouses or partners can experience, or the lack of connection are not uncommon and can open up deep wounds in a relationship. Once again, her goal is to bridge these gaps and help develop coping skills and communication tactics to heal these relationships.


Our goal at Drishti Bend is to be a resource for those seeking support and to provide specialized expertise to meet the needs in our community. We hope that first responders will get in touch with our practice as Melissa is ready to meet you where you are at. To schedule an appointment with Melissa, contact us to set up an introductory call.