Understanding First Responder IssuesThe people who work in fields that bring them to the scene of crimes and disasters, man-made or otherwise, in order to provide immediate assistance to those affected by the event are known as First Responders. Because of the risks they face in the course of duty, repeated exposure to trauma, shifts that cause sleep disruption and time away from family, they may experience a variety of issues, such as injury, anxiety, burnout, and depression.
For others, however, symptoms last longer and may be more serious. In some cases, First Responders might experience symptoms of PTSD. The rates of depression, suicide and substance abuse are all higher than average among First Responders. Preventing Tragedy Through Training and Resources Some First Responders may find it difficult to seek help, or they may feel reluctant to do so, partially due to societal expectations and idealizations of people in these professions—police officers, firefighters, and others—as heroes who are always strong and tough, both mentally and physically. Many people still erroneously view mental health concerns as a sign of weakness, and this belief can be harmful to all individuals but especially to those expected by society to show no weakness. Getting help is not weakness. Its a smart. In recent years, awareness of mental health issues has increased, and the issues facing first responders have also garnered more attention. As a result, resources available to that group have also increased. Many departments now offer counseling and time off for those who have been affected, and people may be more willing to come forward and seek help because of this.
Mental Health and Wellness Resources for Firefighters and First Responders
Healing Our Own Firefighters Stand Together for Healing our Bodies and MInds
The Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance FBHA’s goal is to provide behavioral health workshops to fire departments and EMS organizations across the globe, focusing on behavioral health awareness with a strong emphasis towards suicide prevention and promoting resources available to firefighters/EMS and their families (including self assessment suicide screening)
The Code Green Campaign, aka Code Green takes its name from combining the color of the mental health awareness ribbon, green, and from the “code alerts” that EMS uses to designate an emergency patient. Our primary goal is raising awareness of the high rates of mental health issues, substance abuse and suicide among first responders. Our secondary goal is providing education for responders on how to provide care for themselves and recognize issues in their peers.
National Volunteer Fire Council/Share the Load: The NVFC’s Share the Load™ program provides access to critical resources and information to help first responders and their families manage and overcome personal and work-related problems. Fire/EMS Helpline 1-888-731-FIRE (3473)
National Fallen Firefighters Foundation Everyone Goes Home: Our mission is to honor and remember America's fallen fire heroes, to provide resources to assist their survivors, and work to reduce firefighter deaths and injuries. Including Grief support for survivors’ families.
International Association of Firefighters Recovery Center Its not all in your head. Get help today. 24-hr crisis link for behavioral help and addictions.
Counseling Services For Fire Fighters, LLC (CSFF) conducts workshops that offer behavioral health support to firefighters, train senior fire officers and educate clinicians on the benefits of understanding the life and emotions of firefighters.
First Responder Support Network (FRSN) mission is to provide educational treatment programs to promote recovery from stress and critical incidents experienced by first responders and their families, including residential treatment. FRSN is a collaboration of first responder peers (included but not limited to police, fire, corrections, dispatch, and emergency medical services), SOS peers, culturally competent mental health clinicians, and chaplains; all of these individuals volunteer their time.
Firestrong Tools to Build a Stronger You
Fire Hero Learning Network - Training Programs
Lavender Ribbon Report -Best Practices for Preventing Firefighter Cancer
Trauma Screening Questionnaire (TSQ) (link to pdf)