CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) – It’s called Grit and Grace therapy. Jessica McClellan, is a licensed clinical social worker. She is opening this new practice in Mahomet.

She said she can help people with all kinds of different needs. Like eating disorders, anxieties, and personality disorders, she wants to focus on providing mental health help to first responders and their families.

“I really want them to feel like they have a safe place to go, where somebody gets them and they can feel heard,” she said.

She said she saw a need in the first responder world, and decided to help.

“First responders, I mean, they see trauma every single day. So, when you have that mixed with the negativity of the job, and then not feeling supported, and not having a place to go, you have this kind of perfect storm,” she said.

So, she started Grit and Grace Therapy to help first responders and their families.

While she’s still moving into her space, it isn’t the only place that specializes in first responder mental health in the community. But as Todd Hitt said, you can never have too much assistance.

“I think most people understand that our job is stressful and we do help, but we also see a bunch of things that still affect us on our days off,” Hitt said. “We’ll never forget them. Never forget the memories. They’re always trapped in your brain. We just have to learn how to carry them.”

Hitt was with the Champaign Fire Department for more than 30 years, and just recently retired. He said he learned very quickly when he first started, the tragic events they see nearly every day can really affect first responders, and the people around them.

“The firefighters, police officers, everyone in the first responder world are humans as well. We are affected,” he said. “When we show up to help out when you call, you’ll get 100%, and then we’ll deal with the ramifications of that as we move on.”

When they’re dealing with that aftermath, that’s where people like McClellan and her practice come in. She says she knows first responders, especially firefighters and police, are at an increased risk of dying by suicide.

Both her and Hitt said if you need help, get help.

You can find more about Grit and Grace Therapy on their Facebook page, here or on their website, here. The doors to the new practice officially open on Monday.

There are also a few other resources for first responders you can use.