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Mayor Tim Keller and AFR Introduce New Behavioral Health Director

Maia Dalton-Theodore joins department to coordinate behavioral health services for first responders.

Today, Mayor Tim Keller and Albuquerque Fire Rescue introduced Maia Dalton- Theodore, LCSW, SAP as the first Behavioral Health Director for first responders.

Dalton-Theodore will be acting as the clinical and administrative director for the Albuquerque Fire Rescue Firefighter Mental Health and Wellness Program. Her focus will be on educating, counseling, pre-employment screening and evaluating the mental health needs of members of AFR. Part of her service will be to provide evaluation, assessment, crisis intervention, safety planning and referrals for members of AFR. Maia will also be developing curriculums to proactively address issues impacting the Fire Service, such as PTSD, substance abuse, and suicide.

“The toll that the heroic work of first responders can take has never been more clear after this past year,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “As part of our investments in public safety, we’re stepping up for the health and wellness of firefighters, paramedics and EMTs and others who experience the best and worst of our city. We’re grateful to welcome Maia Dalton-Theodore to the Fire family as the first Behavioral Health Director.”

Ms. Theodore comes to Albuquerque from Alexandria, Virginia, where she was the Behavioral Health Coordinator for the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department and the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Department. Her career has included working in the substance abuse treatment field and the internal Employee Assistance Program at Amtrak. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Qualified Substance Abuse Professional through the DOT.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and Albuquerque Fire Rescue continues to amplify the message of “Rescuing the Rescuers”. The stresses faced by fire fighters, paramedics and EMTs throughout the course of their careers – incidents involving children, violence, inherent dangers of firefighting and other potentially traumatic events – can have a cumulative impact on mental health and well-being.

Deputy Chief Sean Frazier said, “With the expansion of Behavioral Health Division we remain committed to protecting our most valuable resource, the men and women of Albuquerque Fire Rescue.”

AFR has created an officer’s position dedicated to the “Health & Wellness” of the membership.  The H&W Officer is responsible for the coordination of the Peer Support Team and any and all resources associated with the Health and Wellness of AFRs firefighters.

“I look forward to continuing to build on the established comprehensive mental health resources that the City of Albuquerque has, as well as provide new and innovative approaches to address the needs of our firefighters and their families”, said Maia Dalton-Theodore.