STAND DOWN FOR BEHAVIORAL HEALTH AND SUICIDE AWARENESS
United Fire Service Leadership Urges All Departments to Focus on Mental Wellness on All Shifts Sept. 10-14
September 4, 2018
Brothers and Sisters:
Firefighters are asked to face horrors few can imagine, from mass casualty events, to the intimate pain of a child dying in their arms. It can take its toll on even the strongest individuals. Sometimes, the stress boils over. Sometimes, it can kill.
Last year, more firefighters died from suicide than from on-duty events. National surveys suggest nearly one in three firefighters has considered suicide. In the last two months, three California firefighters died by their own hand. In many cases, post-traumatic stress injury is the cause, and all too often, our brothers and sisters suffer in silence.
September is National Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month. To help bring this pain out of the shadows, we are calling on all California fire departments to participate in a Behavioral Health Suicide Prevention and Awareness Safety Stand Down.
During the week of September 10 through September 14, drills and activities should be canceled, replaced by kitchen table sessions with behavioral health and suicide awareness as the focus. Discuss the impact of the job, how to give and get help, and where to go for resources.
A poster with a crisis line number and links for support and information has been mailed to every fire station. Please consider putting it up in a central location, so the resources are visible. You can also download and print your own poster, for placement in other locations or on your bulletin boards.