BackStoppers surviving spouse Annette Jansen has begun an exciting new chapter with opening her own private counseling service, Strong Line Counseling LLC.

“I am the surviving spouse of St. Charles Police Officer Grant Jansen, who was killed in the line of duty on September 10, 2008.  I had been a 911 dispatcher at the same police department as my late husband for 14 years.  At the time I had a 6-year-old son who is on the autism spectrum, a 4-year-old daughter, and I was six weeks pregnant with our third child.  I was completely overwhelmed with the loss of my husband.  I knew I needed to focus on my children, so I decided to resign from my position at the police department to be a full-time mom. I could not have done this without BackStoppers’ assistance.  I felt like my entire identity had been stripped from me.  I was no longer a wife.  I no longer had a career.  And now I was navigating a new life as a solo parent of three children who had been through severe trauma while trying to push through trauma and grief myself.  I poured myself into public speaking appearances, fundraising, and helping others who had been through similar experiences, all of which played an important role in my therapeutic journey.

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Prior to the death of my husband, I had already obtained my master’s degree in professional counseling from Lindenwood University, but I just never found the right time or opportunity to put in the hours required to get my license.  After staying home with my three children for 13 years (They are now 21, 19, and 14), I decided I wanted to finish what I had started.  I became a provisionally licensed professional counselor and began working towards the 3000 hours required for supervision at a group practice called Sonder Counseling in Clayton.  I was there for two and a half years where I gained incredible experience and mentorship working with a wide variety of clientele.  I became a fully licensed professional counselor in June of this year.  Since I started later in life, I decided there was no time like the present to jump into private practice with both feet.  This took an incredible amount of courage, and I combated a lot of negative self-talk and self-doubt, but ultimately, I knew this was what I needed to make the desired impact I was seeking.

This past September, I officially opened the doors to Strong Line Counseling LLC in O’Fallon, MO.  I have so many ‘whys’, but my main ‘why’ has to do with just wanting to be present, acknowledge, and supportive to as many people as I can, specifically to be available for the first responder community and their families.  First responders and health care workers are so good at taking care of everyone else, but often lack the know-how and the motivation to care for themselves.  It is also very hard for them to just go to anyone, so I am hoping that my experience in law enforcement and trauma will make going to counseling more appealing and help eliminate the stigma associated with seeking improvement in mental wellness.  Not only do I have personal experience working in law enforcement, but I also have experience being married to a police officer, raising children in a law enforcement family, experiencing the trauma of a line-of-duty death, and helping my children through that as well as many other survivors.  I am EMDR trained, which is an evidence-based technique used to help clients with trauma and negative beliefs.  I am also CISM trained, which comes in handy when helping agencies with critical incidents or natural disasters.

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I have a private office in O’Fallon where I can see clients in person or via telehealth.  I have a wide variety of office hours including some evenings and Saturdays. My plans include working with agencies across the St. Charles County area to assist with wellness programs, working with the Regional Peer Support Team, and potentially responding to critical incidents across the area including line-of-duty deaths and police suicides.  My specialties include working with first responders and their families and survivors of first responders who have died in the line of duty, off duty, or by suicide. I also enjoy working with the neurodivergent population (ADHD, autism, etc.). I see pre-teens, adolescents, adults, couples, and families.  I am honored and humbled to be given this opportunity to see trauma and tragedy return full circle.  It is not always easy to see the good that can come from horrific losses, but when it shows it is important to seize that good and use it in a way to help others.  I hope that I can be just a little part of spreading that good.”

We are honored to know Annette and be a part of her life and the amazing work she is doing for the community. Her story and words hold power and are a beacon of light and hope. When you support our mission, you are helping to provide a way to a new future.