Officer Berardi (not his real name) doesn’t feel good. It’s not a cold or flu. It’s not just the chronic back pain that has been keeping him up at night. And as of this morning, it’s not constipation. Even though he worked a 12-hour shift and then took on a road job, it’s not fatigue, either. He just doesn’t feel good.

If he’s taking advantage of the forthcoming innovation to elevate total healthcare for NJ State PBA members, Berardi will walk into a First Responders Partnership Healthcare Center (FRPHC) and get some urgent primary care. During the course of an exam, the primary care physician who sees him after virtually no wait might discover that Berardi had to remove a child from a home riddled with domestic violence on his tour and had to break up a fight on his road job.

“Could you be dealing with some extreme stress?” the doctor asks.

“Probably,” he admits.

The doctor suggests that Berardi might benefit from behavioral health counseling or therapy.

“Oh spit,” Berardi thinks. That means having to find a therapist, schedule an appointment, and worry about it getting back to his department.

Not at the FRPHC.

The doctor tells the officer that help is less than a phone call away. It’s down the hall, in fact. Because of its collaborative infrastructure and belief that physical and mental health require a truly holistic approach to care, the FRPHC will have behavioral health professionals on staff and in the facility.

The resources to provide PBA members treatment options will be so robust at the FRPHC that this very well could be the path-way members have been seeking for the behavioral health and wellness the profession increasingly demands. Expertise, ease of access, no barriers to treatment, and confidentiality also give the FRPHC a cutting-edge platform for providing mental healthcare.

“Neurobiology is teaching us that nesting behavioral health into primary care has become incredibly important,” advocates Doug Forrester, chairman, and CEO of Integrity Health, which created the FRPHC concept and will open the first such center in Hamilton Township around Spring 2020.

“You can’t have physical fitness without emotional fitness and expect to perform at the highest level,” Forrester continues. “You need both to be effective, particularly for first responders because of that special burden they carry for public well-being.”

So Officer Berardi is accompanied down the hall, no appointment necessary – to visit with a therapist like licensed