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  #1  
Old 12-11-2015, 10:50
bierme bierme is offline
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Default Mental health crisis in the fire service

I've been on the job a very short time, in that time I've known 3 guys who have taken their own lives. Is this a new crisis, or a common thing that's just now being noticed?

Most recent one is Richard Loken.

Your thoughts?
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Old 12-11-2015, 10:57
Chileno Chileno is offline
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Default Re: Mental health crisis in the fire service

I also know a couple that took their lives about 15 years ago. I also know others that don't commit suicide but end up with over psychiatric/behavioral issues such as drug addiction, divorce, among others.

It is a know issue studied by professionals all over the world, along with the high divorce rate which is also created by emotional stability/mental health issues.

There was a study done by a PhD at Oklahoma State University that shown some of these pattern at the national level. I remember reading it for school years ago.
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Old 12-11-2015, 11:21
bierme bierme is offline
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Default Re: Mental health crisis in the fire service

Come to think of it, there was another guy I met years ago in PM school who also committed suicide.
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Old 12-11-2015, 11:28
Irons17 Irons17 is offline
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Default Re: Mental health crisis in the fire service

Look up the code green campaign.

Last edited by Irons17; 12-11-2015 at 11:31. Reason: Edit
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Old 12-11-2015, 11:49
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Paddiegrunt Paddiegrunt is offline
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Default Re: Mental health crisis in the fire service

They say that Firemen are exceptable to PTSD as much as Veterans
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  #6  
Old 12-11-2015, 11:53
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Default Re: Mental health crisis in the fire service

PTSD is very real in the fire service....along with the denial. Please think about getting counseling as its ok and socially acceptable.
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Old 12-11-2015, 13:45
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Default Re: Mental health crisis in the fire service

I DON'T HAVE PTSD LEAVE ME ALONE
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Old 12-11-2015, 22:53
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Default Re: Mental health crisis in the fire service

Divorce, substance abuse and suicide are all manifestations of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Many have it and either don't know it, or are trying to ignore/suppress it.

If you are having problems, or know someone who is, GET HELP IMMEDIATELY! IT IS ABSOLUTELY OK TO ASK FOR HELP!

The "Old Days" of "Suck it up and don't be a pussy" are GONE! You should be able to seek help if the job is making you feel bad without those fuckers who keep putting you down for not "sucking it up" and get the help you need.

In my opinion, one of the most important things in your life is getting to retirement healthy enough to ENJOY those retirement years without health issues. You should not have to spend your retirement years so sick/unhealthy/drunk/alone/high/etc. that all you are doing is marking time until you die.

IT IS OK TO ASK FOR HELP!!!!
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Old 12-12-2015, 09:58
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Tomdz Tomdz is offline
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Default Re: Mental health crisis in the fire service

Studied this very topic in 2005 in a semester class which was a requirement for my BS degree. Only recently, has firefighter and police officer suicide been media worthy but public safety suicide has been occurring for decades.

Firefighter PTSD, and all its symptoms as they affected the fire service and firefighter's family has been around since Ben Franklin organized a fire department. Back then PTSD didn't have a name. It does now.

In 1989, or thereabouts, my crew responded to a local 10 year old who crossed a two lane highway on his bike and got nailed by a 60 mph vehicle smack dab in the middle of the front bumper. We were assisted by the local volunteers who knew the victim very well.

Because of the remote location and the fact that the first-in ground paramedic ambulance was not available and the second-in ambulance had an ETA of over an hour I called for a Lifeflight. While the helicopter response was short the victim was deceased and was pronounced so by the Lifeflight crew. All of the volunteers went to pieces and two of my firefighters lost it as well.

The CHP then called for the coroner and the body remained on the highway. We returned to quarters, as did the local volunteers, after going available on scene for traffic control. The CHP officers concluded their investigation but saw no reason for the body to remain on the highway waiting for a coroner with a 2-4 hour ETA. So the body was moved via ambulance to our fire station apparatus bay and remained there until the coroner arrived. Meanwhile the volunteers had notified the victim's family and both the volunteer crew and the family came to our fire station.

It was at this point that I saw the volunteers and my firefighters not coping well and I called HQ for a Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD as it was known back then) and let the volunteers know that they would benefit from the debriefing. They agreed to attend. The department put us out of service, sent out a psychologist and moved in a cover engine. However, when the psychologist arrived the volunteers left the station. My firefighters didn't really want to talk and so the psychologist just laid out what symptoms may or may not transpire and passed out a business card should anyone need follow up care that would be paid for through Workman's Comp.The psychologist asked that I hand off business cards to the volunteers and I did so.

About a month later one of my firefighters suddenly resigned as did a handful of volunteers from their department. They collectively decided they didn't want any more nightmares. When I reminded everyone that nightmares were a part of PTSD and that paid treatment was available they, as a group, decided they didn't want anyone to think that they couldn't man-up by attending counseling.

Last edited by Tomdz; 12-12-2015 at 10:05.
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  #10  
Old 12-12-2015, 11:12
iwantafirecareer iwantafirecareer is offline
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Default Re: Mental health crisis in the fire service

Definitely talk to the department chaplain if you have one.
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