Posts Tagged Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post Traumatic Stress in the fire service

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Over the next few weeks, Dallas Fire-Rescue will roll out a new program to better help its members seek treatment for post-traumatic stress, substance abuse, and work related mental health issues.

DFR Chief David Coatney said work on the program began last year, with representatives from all three fire associations working with the department to develop the program. The suicide of one of their members in 2017 was among the driving forces behind the program’s creation.

Posters with a phone number for a newly created 24-hour hotline along with a hyperlink and QR code linking to a website will be placed in all DFR firehouses. No matter the method chosen, firefighters and paramedics will be able to quickly access information on treatment options for any mental health issue they might have.

“All of these options insure anonymity for the person who is calling in, which is very important for the audience we are speaking to,” Coatney said.

In previous years, mental health treatment for DFR members was mostly facilitated through the city of Dallas’ employee assistance program or ‘EAP’. DFR members will still have access to those resources but the hope is the new program will do a better job breaking through the stigma that still exists when it comes to mental health treatment among firefighters, especially for older generations.

“Because of those different generations you had the group that would just suck it up and move forward and if you came forward and said that call really bothered me you’d get a response like ‘get over it kid’ but things have changed,” Coatney said.

The department has so far contracted with over a half-dozen local mental health institutions to provide everything from counseling to substance abuse treatment. The department will also soon begin resiliency training for current members of the department. The training has been available for recent cadet classes but had not previously been offered to current members. The training prepares firefighters and paramedics for the emotional trauma they will encounter on the job.

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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in the fire service

Excerpts from

Fire chiefs from across Illinois brought concerns about mental illness to a discussion hosted by the Illinois Fire Service Institute on Tuesday.

The director of the Illinois Fire Service Institute said Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a very real issue among firefighters, just like it is in the military. Mental health education is now part of almost all trainings at IFSI, which should help reach about 12,000 firefighters a year.

Research is showing that the most helpful person firefighters can talk out these issues with are other firefighters. The Champaign Fire Department has staff members trained to counsel fellow firefighters and identify those who may need additional help.

For more information on help available to firefighters and paramedics dealing with mental health problems, you can view resources recommended by IFSI here.

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