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Meet Alfred Ricci of First Responder PTSD in Santa Monica

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alfred Ricci.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My life was abruptly uprooted when I was forced to spend my teenage years living in shelters, a group home, and a foster home. Unknown to me back then, this experience was to become the best training in my life. I learned how to overcome any obstacle, including severe trauma. At the time, it was sheer perseverance that got me through six high schools, a double major in college, and eventually an MBA from UC Irvine.

A decade ago, I left my corporate career to become a motivational speaker and consultant. During the last ten+ years, I’ve taught personal development workshops, which focus on emotional intelligence (EQ) and include practices to reduce stress and release severe trauma. My engagements have included organizations such as State Farm, Experian, Deutsche Bank, Union Bank, European American Bank, GE Capital Bank, Bank Austria, Ernst & Young, and Nokia.

My early years coupled with later experiences of highly toxic corporate cultures have created my life’s mission to share the vital skills needed to reduce the effects of stress and PTSD in traumatic work and personal environments.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. How did you develop your passion?
I first began personal development workshops in organizations and corporations. Employees and leaders need the skills to handle the stress of toxic business environments. First Responder PTSD applies the same methodology to deal with repetitive on-the-job trauma.

PTSD has gained attention in the last few years bring to light the severity of this issue. The number of law enforcement officers who died by suicide outnumbered those who died in the line of duty for the third straight year in 2018. http://bit.ly/2Xe1PMO Firefighters are also more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty. http://bit.ly/2Xc5TNu.

The effects of PTSD not only negatively affect a first responder, but also those being treated, and it can even cause financial issues to the organization (e.g., hospital). PTSD has far-reaching effects beyond first responders. Because they repeatedly face highly charged emotional situations, they are predisposed to PTSD – which can lead to misdiagnosis, misjudgment, misinterpretation, misunderstanding, and mistakes.

Mistakes hurt the people being served. Mistakes can lead to lawsuits. The point is that PTSD can cause suicides, severe professional misconduct, and financial problems for their organizations.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with First Responder PTSD – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Even though I have been through personal trauma starting at an early age, I choose to serve by sharing my knowledge and experience of how to overcome and succeed under severe distress.

Our mission is to serve those who experience work-related PTSD: police officers, firefighters, nurses, doctors, EMTs, veterinarians, social workers, and teachers. To perform at their best, first responders require coping skills to deal with repetitive on-the-job trauma.

• Mindfulness to maintain composure and clarity on the front lines.

• Resilience to release past experiences to be fully prepared for the next event.

How does mindfulness and resilience help first responders? Employees in Aetna who attended at least one mindfulness class have reported a 28% reduction in their stress levels, a 20% improvement in sleep quality. http://bit.ly/2T6T4oc

As for organizational benefits, as Aetna’s mindfulness programs ramped up health care costs fell seven percent. That’s $6.3 million going straight to the bottom line.

By implementing a mindfulness program, Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini says, “All that we’ve done isn’t that expensive. It’s probably cost us $120,000 a year to do this.” If you save one life, who cares about the money? The benefits of a more mindful workforce can’t be quantified in dollar terms alone. We’re talking about saving the lives of first responders and increasing the care first responders give.

If organizations are more concerned about their bottom line than the health of their employees, consider a mindfulness program at The Dow Chemical Company in 2012 http://bit.ly/2BJWBPt found participants had a:
• 50% decrease in the number of high-stress episodes
• 13% increase in resiliency
• 15% increase in work engagement and vigor
• 50% decrease in employee burnout

Mindfulness training is very efficacious in high-stress, low-resiliency work situations such as one might find in a hospital ER or ICU. http://bit.ly/2Nfr3FH

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
First responders need to develop resilience to their daily emotional experiences. We help organizations become aware that resilience and mindfulness skills are just as essential as physical safety.

Our lessons should be:
1. Added to the initial certification training a first responder receives.
2. Part of the re-certification safety training (e.g., annually).

My offerings include keynote speaking, facilitating workshops, coaching executives, mentoring leaders and training organizations on PTSD and emotional intelligence.

The results of implementing a mindfulness program (or at least holding a workshop) are:
• Reduced errors (and associated problems)
• Reduced burnout, sick days, absenteeism, and turnover
• Catching and treating PTSD before suicidal thoughts occur
• Clearer communication and documentation
• Increased quality and productivity
• Better critical decision making

I teach first responders the skills to better maintain their composure, control emotional balance, and attain mental clarity to perform to their peak abilities.

Those who are trained to let go of emotional trauma can:
1. Regain composure quickly to become prepared for the next emergency
2. Avoid the symptoms associated with PTSD

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Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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