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Positive Connections Radio

Author: MHNR Network, LLC

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Join former police detective and current certified drug and alcohol counselor, Michael Koch, invoking positive change and breaking the stigma of mental health issues among first responders.
59 Episodes
Positive Connections Radio: E-60: Addiction Has No BoundariesSheriff-Prison-Recovery: Kyle OvermyerKyle Overmyer was elected Sheriff of Sandusky County in Freemont, Ohio at the age of 34 in 2008. Kyle became addicted to opioid pain medication due to injuries that subsequently resulted in doctor shopping and taking medications from the Sheriff “Prescription Takeback boxes” to feed his addiction. Kyle was indicted by a Grand Jury for 42 related felony drug charges and ended up pleading guilty to 12. Kyle was sentenced to 4 years in prison and sent to the Allen Correctional Prison in Lima, Ohio where he served his full term. Kyle was released on April 4, 2020 and now has been sober for over 6 years. He is employed at Dreamlife Recovery and is the founder of KO Addiction. Kyle has the courage to share his story of addiction and recovery and is there for others who may need help.
Positive Connections Radio: E-59: Debriefing with my Chief: Former Carlsbad Police Chief Gary Morrison. I am honored to have this connection with my former Police Chief Gary Morrison. Nine and a half years ago he found out how dark my path of addiction had taken me and stood before the media to announce the criminal investigation, my arrest, and my subsequent termination as a police officer for the City of Carlsbad, California. Recovery and positive directions have granted me the freedom from the bonds of addiction and mental health issues and the opportunity to share my experience, strength and hope with others. I never expected to make this connection with Chief Morrison, and I am deeply grateful.
Positive Connections Radio: E-58: Travis Wittaker Where is Your “ROCK BOTTOM” going to be?How do you know you’ve hit your rock bottom? Been there before? How many more times do you want to do it your way? What do you do? Listen to my intro and Travis and know there is help available. Confidential help by trusted professionals who “Get Us” and they are there to help point you in the right direction. Here’s a little bit about Travis Wittaker:Travis has been sober for over 12 years. He is the father to 3 amazing kids with his beautiful wife of 27 years who he loves spending time with. Travis loves basketball, golf and being in the outdoors during his free time.Travis has worked in the treatment industry for 8 years from admissions to marketing. In addition to his role as Vice President of Clinical Outreach at True Recovery in collaboration with First Responder-Wellness by Simple Recovery, he is also a National Certified Interventionist. Travis also has a popular Facebook page, Car Talk with Travis, where he and guest shares inspirational messages through video about addiction and Recovery. Travis is also a board member of 10,000 beds, a nonprofit organization who provides scholarships to addicts without the means to pay for treatment.Contact Travis at:
Positive Connections Radio: E-57: James McLintock LMFTPolice Officer to First Responder Clinician James always had the passion to be in service to those in need. Early on he became a lifeguard, EMT, and then a Police Officer for the City of Anaheim throughout the 90’s and early 2000’s. In the time post-911 he noticed several of his police teammates coming back from battle and how the negative impacts of war had on his friends. Many were suffering from PTSD, anxiety, depression, panic attacks, trauma, suicidal thoughts, addictions to pain medications and alcohol abuse. His coworkers were encouraged to get help and attend counseling sessions, however many would not because they feared that the therapists did not have familiarity with working with First Responders and could not really relate to them. James decided that he would better serve others by becoming a therapist so he would have more credibility than just earning a degree in counseling. James retired as a police officer and went back to school and earned a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy. Since 2008 James McLintock has been the go-to clinician for First Responders in San Diego, Ca.
Positive Connections Radio: Episode-56: Captain Kelly Lucas OCFAFire Captain Kelly Lucas has been a firefighter/paramedic for 19 years and currently serves on a truck company for Orange County Fire Authority. Kelly talks about his struggles with alcoholism and how he was able to break free and get sober. Around the 13th year mark Kelly realized he was carrying around a lot of stress and trauma of the job and his drinking became a problem. Kelly reached out for help and sought therapy, connection with others and a connection with God. He then started his difficult road to recovery.Kelly is inspirational and gives hope and direction to those suffering from addiction and publicly speaks so others know that it is “ok” to be not “ok”. Kelly is currently in his second-year master’s program in counseling and plans on being a therapist specializing in working with First Responders.
Positive Connections Radio: E-55: Cassie SextonThe 1st First Responder.Cassie Sexton is a Dispatcher for the City of Newport Beach California and is a strong supporter of Peer Support for all First Responders. Cassie shares her experience, strength, and hope so that others know that it is "ok" to be "not ok". There is hope for breaking the stigma and that asking for help is a sign on
Positive Connections Radio: E-54: Brock Bevell: Former Undercover Cop. Identity Loss, Addiction and Recovery.Brock Bevell became a police officer and like all First Responders survived through countless critical incidents and emotional stress and events that change his life. His last critical incident involved being run over by a suspect in a truck trying to escape arrest. Brock suffered career ending injuries and was medically retired as a police officer. Brock lost his identity as a police officer and got addicted to opiates for several years after being first prescribed them for his injuries. Brock found himself living the horrid life of an addict and realized that he had crossed the line and became the person he had arrested and confronted numerous times during his career as a police officer. With his life spinning out of control brought on by addiction, the loss of friends and loved ones and the constant struggle with addiction and suffering he looked at his life and in a moment of clarity decided he had to change. For the next seven days, Brock detoxed from opioids on his bathroom floor and pulled himself up from the hellish realm of dependence to start a new life in recovery. After 11 years of sobriety Brock now gives back and helps others who are suffering. He tells his story to give hope to those who feel like life is hopeless. Contact Brock at
Brandielee Baker is our guest today on Positive Connections Radio. She is a former First Responder working in EMS and is a professional coach/strategist specializing in wellness, specifically stress, anxiety and conflict. Brandielee is the cofounder of the national non-profit organization, The Code 9 Project, the founder of Positive Constructs, and the creator, and executive director, of the nationally accredited, S.H.A.R.E. and T.U.F. Training Programs. The Code 9 Project is a national non-profit that provides education, training and advocacy for the prevention of PTSD and suicide for law enforcement, first responders and their families.The Code 9 Project also serves as a bridge between First Responders and their communities by providing; outreach, education and community building. They have a team of chaplains, peer support, critical incident trainers and a specialized trauma debriefing team for individuals, police and fire departments, first responders, frontline workers and hospital staff.The Code 9 Project has a national helpline that is 24/7 for all frontline workers and first responders. The Code 9 Project national helpline number is 844-HOPE-247.For more information on The Code 9 Project, visit: and follow @code9project on Facebook and @thecode9project on Instagram.
Podcast 52: Positive Connections RadioThe First Responder Project: Dr. Tracy S. Hejmanowski Dr. Tracy S. Hejmanowski is a licensed clinical psychologist, with 20 years of clinical expertise working with service members, first responders, veterans, and their families. Her work began at a VA Medical Center, followed by neuropsychological and emotional assessment of repatriated prisoners of war. She was stationed overseas and stateside as an active duty U.S. Navy psychologist, followed by work as a DoD contractor for 11 years as the Program Manager of Naval Hospital Jacksonville’s Deployment Health Center. In addition to providing individual, group, marital, and family therapy, she introduced innovative interventions, to include scuba-based physiologic retraining and equine-assisted therapy. Dr. Hejmanowski is a nationally and locally requested speaker on trauma-related subjects for military and civilian first responder communities. She has been a regular presenter for Special Warfare and Operations reintegration programs. She has authored articles on operational stress and was recognized for behavioral health initiatives related to occupational trauma. She was nationally recognized by the Center for Operational Stress Control with the Peabody Caregiver of the Year Award – the first time awarded to a civilian provider. For the past 7 years, Dr. Hejmanowski has provided program development and lead clinical facilitation for non-profit organizations that provide therapeutic retreats for veterans and first responder communities, including her own non-profit, First Responder Project. [A native of upstate New York, Dr. Hejmanowski lives with her husband, a U.S. Navy Iraq War veteran and ER physician, and their four children in Jacksonville, Florida.]
Jeni was employed as a police officer at Patrick Henry High School on Saint Patrick’s Day 2012. On this day she finally realized she needed to address her alcoholism when she commandeered a bus in an attempt to driver herself home. She was subsequently hot stopped and arrested. Sgt. Jeni Gruner shares her story of alcoholism, blackout drinking and the stigma about asking for help as a First Responder. She talks about how she overcame her addiction through continued recovery and how she made it through the worst struggles in the aftermath of the devastating consequences of alcohol abuse. Jeni Gruner has been a police officer for the last 22 years. She is a Sergeant with the San Diego Unified School District Police Department and is currently in charge of the Peer Support and Wellness Program. She began her career at the San Diego County Marshal's Office and then as a Deputy with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. She speaks at the San Diego Regional Academy to new recruits and also at the POST Management School in the area of substance abuse and officer wellness.Jeni has two wonderful teenagers who keep her very busy with various sports and activities . Jeni has been in recovery and sober for almost 9 years living life in gratitude one day at a time. Jeni enjoys working within the community of law enforcement as a peer supporter and advocate of wellness for police officers.www.MentalHealthNewsRadio.comwww.positiveconnectionsradio.com
Podcast 50: Positive Connections RadioFighting Through the Darkest Times in Law EnforcementRetired U.S. Air Force Captain and Police Sergeant Michael Sugrue joins me again on Positive Connections Radio for my 50th episode. Michael speaks up about smashing the stigma and going all in to get the help you need. How Command Staff (showing their true leadership abilities) can set the bar and open the doors for officers getting mental health assistance. Trusting that it is ok to ask for help. Asking for help before it is too late to keep your job and perform your duties once honored and respected with the passion for helping others. How can we help others in these times of chaos when we refuse to admit that we need help ourselves.
Podcast 49: Positive Connections RadioIPSA International Public Safety AssociationDr. Stephen Odom (First Responder Wellness)Dr. Stephen Odom is a notable healthcare and addiction treatment professional with more than 30 years of expertise in the field. He is the founder and Chief Clinical Officer of First Responder Wellness by Simple Recovery.He possesses an educational background in organizational behavior, clinical psychology and healthcare administration. This valuable combination allows him to integrate current research knowledge, clinical and administrative practice understanding, and practical, directly relevant experience. Stephen holds a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Behavior from Covenant College, a Master’s in Experimental Psychology (Univ. of Tennessee), a Master’s in Clinical Psychology (Palo Alto University), and a Doctorate (Ph.D.) with a focus in Healthcare Administration (Capella University). He is also a licensed marriage and family therapist in the state of California.Stephen has served in multiple roles during his career, including CEO & Chief Clinical Officer of New Vista Behavioral Health, a Director’s post of Program Development for CRC Health and multiple Administrative and Clinical Director posts at various behavioral health and chemical dependency treatment centers and hospitals in California, including Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach and El Camino Hospital in the San Francisco Bay area. Moreover, Stephen served as a university adjunct faculty member in Psychology and Child Development and continues to work in private practice. Dr. Odom has been coined as a wellness and behavioral health expert with peer-reviewed articles published on mental health, substance abuse and technology; was presented the national Behavioral Health Champion award in 2018; has appeared on The Today Show; the 2016 documentary film California High, and multiple print, radio, and podcast media channels.Dr. Odom’s focus on First Responder Wellness was born of his family’s career backgrounds with the military, healthcare, law enforcement and public safety, and was honed as he created and led specialty programs for physicians, nurses, first responders and their families. In his distinguished and extensive career in behavioral health and addiction treatment, Stephen’s empathetic and therapeutic approach has allowed him to connect not only with his clinical teams but each first responder who walks through the
Podcast 48: Positive Connections RadioCommander Greg Dean. Glen Waverley PoliceMelbourne, Australia Commander Greg Dean is a 30-year police veteran currently working as station commander of Glen Waverley Police Station. Greg was Senior Sergeant of Victoria Police’s Welfare Services who provide 24/7/365 confidential well-being support to all 20,000 Victoria Police as well as their immediate family. We talk about First Responder only retreats, how the attitude about asking for help has changed and how we can combat the fear of asking for help around the globe. Please contact Commander Greg Dean with any questions or comments:
Podcast 47: Positive Connections Radio“Fighting Naked”Firefighter, Cop and their Amazing Clinician WivesTiffany and Shonna along with their husbands Mark and Jason join me for an in-person talk about what it’s like being in a relationship with a First Responder and Clinician. Dealing with stress, communication, self-care, self-help, coping strategies and breaking the stigma. A very unique, valuable, entertaining and informative interview. Find out what Fighting Naked is all about. Tiffany Atalla-Hernandez LMFT, Therapist for Simple Recovery First Responder Wellness Program, The Counseling Team International and founder of Best Solutions Therapy. Mark Hernandez, Anaheim Fire Captain. Hazmat and Peer Support Team Member. Dr. Shonna Hill. Therapist for The Counseling Team International and CISM Clinician. Jason Hill. Police Officer, Santa Ana Police Department.
Podcast 46: Positive Connections RadioThe Counseling Team International: Nancy Bohl-Penrod Ph.D.From 1985 to the present, Nancy Bohl-Penrod has been assisting First Responders by providing safe and confidential guidance to the ones who help everyone else First. Nancy talks about her start in the field of First Responder Wellness and Peer Support and the motivation that keeps her passion alive. We are unique individuals who are highly trained to handle any situation that most of us would not dare tread. However, there comes a time in our lives that we realize that we are not bulletproof, we are not immune from the emotional turmoil encountered day after day. Yes, we signed up for this life and it is an adventure beyond compare but the price some of us pay by keeping it all in (because we are the helpers) may become a price of severe loss. There are those of us who hold on to our old ideals and are unwilling to change. If you are able to step over that line of fear and ask for help then you will find us. You will find yourself again. You will show others that the resiliency on the job you hold so dear can work for you in a program of positive recovery.
"Being Your Own First Responder Through Self-Care"Jennifer Ellis - Life Enlightenment - Manager of Authors and Speakers, ACE-certified Fitness Instructor, YogaRenew Certified Yoga Teacher, Peta Vegan Mentor, Essential Oils Distributor Jim Ellis - Legacy Productions - Author, Filmmaker, Healer, Corona Virus SurvivorJames Anthony Ellis is an award-winning playwright, author and videographer embracing a higher purpose to broadcast a message that makes a difference in our world. He filmed, edited and produced the acclaimed documentary "Indoctrinated; The Grooming of our Children into Prostitution" about the issues facing prostituted youth in our society. His latest documentary “Keeping The Peace; Emotional and Mental Wellness for All Law Enforcement” addresses post-traumatic stress, suicide and wellness on the police force. Ellis lives in San Diego with his wife, and can be contacted at and Two relevant books by Jim; Preparing for the Best and Starting Point.Jennifer Marie Ellis started her company Life Enlightenment in January 2001 upon moving from New York to California. She manages and consults with speakers, authors, and celebrities looking to enlighten more lives. She is featured in the book Guerrilla Publicity 2 and has co-hosted and produced several radio, podcasts, and TV shows. Jennifer is a vegan who is passionate about wellness, health and sports. She is an ACE Certified Group Fitness Instructor, a YogaRenew Certified Yoga Teacher and an Independent Distributor for Young Living Essential Oils who practices yoga two hours every day, and manages her schedule around LA Kings games. Website: TOP 7 SELF-CARE1. Human Rights2. Fitness / Exercise / Yoga 3. Good relations - atonement work4. Dealing with Emotions / Mental Health5. Good Nutrition6. Essential Oils7. Mindfulness / Meditation /
COVID19 has and is changing everything we understood about how we live and conduct ourselves in our day to day lives. We stand together as a nation, a country, a world and as members of the Human Race. I started this podcast to bring together those that wish to help break the stigma of mental health issues among First Responders and to everyone even if you are not on the front lines every day and putting your lives out there so others can have peace. We are in this together and if we can understand ourselves better then we can be there for the ones who need us. Our family, children, friends and the strangers who reach out their hands praying they can get out of it. David Bond retired as a police lieutenant after 27 years and has been working as a therapist with Focus Psychological Services in San Diego after going back to school to become a Psy.D. We talk about living in this atmosphere of powerlessness and how as a country, as a human race, we will overcome and be stronger than before.
Laura Murray was arrested in the 90's for her involvement in a large heroin drug cartel and subsequent criminal investigation named "Operation Tarpit". After getting out of prison Laura lost everything in the financial crisis of 2007-2008 and again found herself addicted to drugs and homeless. After robbing several banks she was sent to prison and turned her life around. With the help of Project Rebound and some strong and empathetic people in her life she now has graduated college and is working on her master's degree. Laura's story is one of hope and she is now an advocate for others who have headed down a similar path.
In 1985, Jan Canty’s life changed forever when her husband was murdered and his body scattered throughout Detroit. Jan escaped the media and news coverage of this horrific crime by changing her name and starting over in another state. Jan did not speak of her husband’s murder for 30 years and lived a secret life. Jan has a podcast named The Domino Effect of Murder and today speaks with Mike Koch about the murder and life afterwards.
PCR was created to reach out and find individuals with integrity, passion and the ability to have the courage to stand for what they believe and share their truth. It is PCR’s goal to connect others together who are in line helping break the stigma. Whatever and wherever this “Stigma” exists. I know you will be able to relate in some way to Janessa’s life experiences and realize that no matter what, we can survive and overcome. “It’s okay to be fallible if we use these failures as an opportunity to move forward” Janessa Goldbeck.
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