Posted on Apr 08, 2023
When emergencies happen, first responders are there to help those who are ill or injured. But often, spouses, parents or children are left alone to process what’s happening to their loved one. In those situations, first responders can call on the Trauma Intervention Program (TIP) to send a specially trained volunteer who can listen to the loved one, support them, and provide guidance on what to do next. The presence of a TIP volunteer helps prevent what mental health professionals term the “Second Injury”, which can occur when, from the victim’s perspective, the emergency response system did not provide adequate support.  
Tarah Campbell, the Outreach Coordinator for San Diego TIP (and also co-owner of Handel’s Ice Cream in Del Mar Highlands) spoke to our club on April 6, 2023 about her experiences as a TIP volunteer. TIP was founded in 1985 by Wayne Fortin, a mental health professional working in San Diego county.  There are now 14 TIP affiliates who provide volunteers to help those in crisis in 250 cities across the United States.  Volunteers for TIP are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They can be on the scene typically within 20 minutes of receiving a call from police officers, firefighters, paramedics or hospital staff and upon arriving start assisting family members and friends who are experiencing trauma associated with death of a loved one, violent crime or accidents.  Volunteers usually take three 12-hour shifts per month. During those shifts, they are available to respond quickly when they receive a call for help.
You can help. To be a TIP volunteer, no special background is needed.  All candidate volunteers undergo mandatory 40 hours of classroom training that focuses on the five emotional first aid skills: reaching out, protecting, reassuring, organizing and reinforcing. They then undertake 3-month field training with experienced volunteers and participate in three hours of continuing education once a month.  Click HERE to learn more about volunteering for TIP.