Keep Your Head Strong with the Share the Load Program

Most firefighters and EMTs are aware of the physical demands of the job, but it is just as important to realize the impact emergency response has to your mental wellbeing. First responders face the risk of many behavioral health concerns such as anxiety, depression, burnout, PTSD, addiction, sleep deprivation, stress, and more.

The NVFC launched the Share the Load™ program to provide resources to firefighters, EMTs, departments, and families to help them address these issues and build a stronger, healthier, more resilient fire service. Components of the program include the following:

  • Fire/EMS Helpline: The NVFC and American Addiction Centers teamed up to provide a free, confidential helpline available 24/7 to members of the fire, emergency medical, and rescue services and their families.
  • Share the Load Newsletter: This newsletter features articles from subject matter experts and fire service veterans who provide tips, tools, and resources to help first responders take a proactive approach in addressing many behavioral health issues.
  • Share the Load Poster: This poster can be hung up at the station to encourage first responders to reach out if they need help.
  • Behavioral Health Resource Center: This online compilation of organizations, resources, reports, and trainings can assist individuals seeking help for a behavioral health issue as well as departments looking to implement or enhance a behavioral health program.
  • Suicide in the Fire and Emergency Services – Adopting a Proactive Approach to Behavioral Health Awareness and Suicide Prevention: This report explores various firefighter/EMT behavioral health concerns and identifies resources and best practices for mental wellness and suicide prevention in the fire and emergency services.
  • Preventing and Coping with Suicide in the Fire and Emergency Services: This online training course, available through the NVFC Virtual Classroom, contains three modules that examines the signs and symptoms preceding suicide, highlights available resources for departments and individuals, and discusses the healing process when coping with a firefighter suicide.
  • Brotherhood vs. Parenthood: Finding your Life Balance: This webinar, available through the NVFC Virtual Classroom, looks at all the roles a volunteer firefighter plays throughout their lives and helps you identify strategies for prioritizing each aspect of their life to achieve better balance and time management.
  • Putting Out the Fire: Stress Resilience Strategies: Stress is an underlying risk factor that affects a majority of the population, especially first responders. This webinar, available through the NVFC Virtual Classroom, helps you key in on the types of stressors most prominent for firefighters and how to successfully manage stress as it arises.