Finding Your Way Through Therapy 145: E.145 Supporting the Mental Health of First Responders: A Conversation with Kathryn Branca, LADC I

When the weight of a badge or the stress of an emergency call becomes a silent burden, where do our first responders turn for help? It's a question that haunted me until Kathryn Branca, a licensed alcohol and drug counselor, sat across from me to share her invaluable insights. Peeling back the curtain on the often-misunderstood world of therapy, particularly for those facing the front lines of crisis day in and day out, our latest conversation isn't just enlightening; it's a lifeline.

Humor and heartache aren't strangers to us in emergency services, and this chat with Kathryn is no exception. We reveal our own 'before and after' moments, those personal catalysts that propelled us into the healing professions. It's a candid exploration of how grief shapes our paths and the profound need for specialized support systems tailored to the unique experiences of nurses, police officers, and other first responders. Kathryn's holistic approach, infusing nutrition and meditation into her practice, underscores the depth and breadth of true healing.

This episode also confronts the elephant in the room—the stubborn stigma against mental health support within the tight-knit first responder community. Trust isn't given; it's earned, and we dissect how to build that rapport without prying into the very stories that scar. Kathryn and I tackle the paradoxical fear of vulnerability in police departments and underscore why standing alone in clinical judgment, though daunting, is sometimes the only way forward. Together, we're advocating for change, striving for a future where the stigma is diminished and our first responders can access the care they so rightfully deserve.

To Contact her, visit her website:

You can also email her: 

Connect with her on LinkedIn at

YouTube Channel For The Podcast

Latest Post