In 2014 Sgt. Mike McGrew and Michael A. Hammer set out to address the need for confidential and independent professional trauma-informed counseling for those on the front lines. At Ease was created, a simple and impactful program that provides first responders and their families with free and confidential services immediately.
From his 31-year career as a police officer and sergeant, co-founder and executive director Sergeant Mike McGrew knows first-hand the dramatic impact of working the front lines as a first responder. The emotional injuries incurred in service are invisible, but no less real and often more damaging than physical trauma. Furthermore, first responders face the stigma surrounding asking and receiving support. As a result, first responders suffer from staggering rates of alcoholism, divorce, and suicide. While treatment options may be available through Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) and insurance, these are often riddled with red tape and restrictions – limited sessions of counseling, ill-equipped counselors, and a lack of confidentiality – all of which hinders participation from first responders.
At Ease began serving first responders locally in Santa Barbara, CA. Through word of mouth At Ease became trusted by first responders. More and more responders started seeking support from At Ease, and we began to hear the stories that our program was a part of helping our responders to heal from difficulties and helping them to be resilient and strong. With requests coming in from different states and countries, we are expanding rapidly and are excited to keep our first responders strong throughout the globe.
Michael A. Hammer
Co-Founder and Chairman
“When difficult times and circumstances affect our lives and our neighborhoods through traumatic critical incidents, personal threats or natural disasters, the spirit of our first responders never wavers and sometimes they don’t know if they will make it home. Supporting At Ease gets us to think past ourselves and begin to help the people who risk their lives for us every day.”
CEO & Executive Director
“As a veteran law enforcement officer, I know first-hand that first responders deal with traumas and issues that the general public should never have to deal with. The work we have been able to do with our first responders has been life-changing and we are getting requests from all over the nation and world to bring the At Ease program to new communities.”