By: Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer
Firefighter mental health. I’m not alone in my desire to see fewer firefighters, along with our brother and sisters in all of the other public safety fields, fall victim to the psychological trauma that comes from helping others in their time of need.
Many of the trade journals for fire, law enforcement, and EMS are writing and posting and publishing about mental health and mental hygiene issues. We’re talking to and writing about how our public safety brothers and sisters are finding ways to cope with PTSD, recover from substance abuse: in short, we’re starting to “pull back the curtain” and let the sunshine into the dark room.
My contribution of “sunshine” today is to post this “round up”, if you will, of posts from this blog along with other sources that I’ve encountered over the past couple of months as I’ve become more informed and educated about firefighters and our mental health challenges.
Nathalie Michaud: A Firefighter and PTSD Suffer/Survivor
What to Say About Firefighting and PTSD?
A Firefighter’s Struggle with PTSD
Leckey Harrison: Raise Your Resilience
Tension Releasing Exercises (TRE®) stretch and slightly fatigue muscles, a process that induces therapeutic tremors. These tremors release deep muscular patterns of stress, tension, and trauma, calm the nervous system, and help the body return to a state of balance.
Dr. Will Brooks, Ed.D.
Dr. Brooks is a retired firefighter who was a Founder and President of the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation. He’s written about firefighters and Critical Incident Stress and has presented his findings to fire service organizations, as well as private and public sector organizations, across Canada.
Depression, like fire, takes many forms
Peggy Sweeney: The Sweeney Alliance
Peggy is a one-person dynamo when it comes to those who work in public safety and their families. Below are just a few of the awesome resources that you can find at Peggy’s “hub”, Grieving Behind the Badge.
- At a Loss for Words: When Someone Dies by Suicide. A program to help departments and families touched by suicide.
- Finding Calm in the Chaos: A women only first responder retreat.
- How to Understand Grief Seminars (the HUGS program)
- Children Healing After Trauma
- Grief and the Chemically Dependent
- When a Child Dies
- Grief Visits the Classroom.
EMS1.com: PPE for emergency responder psyche
Scene safety is also about protecting the mind from the barrage of witnessed trauma.