Make Behavioral Health a Priority in Your Department
September 5, 2023
The fire service tragically loses over 100 members each year to suicide. September is National Suicide Prevention Month, a call-to-action to focus on behavioral health and suicide prevention in your fire department. Use these National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) resources and programs to take a proactive approach to help responders in need and prevent tragic outcomes.
- The Directory of Behavioral Health Professionals is a listing of local providers who are equipped and ready to help firefighters, EMS providers, rescue workers, dispatchers, and their families. Make sure everyone in your department knows how to access this resource. It is updated monthly as new providers are added.
- The NVFC First Responder Helpline, offered through Provident, provides support and assistance to NVFC members and their household families for a range of work-life stresses. With many features similar to an employee assistance program, the Helpline can be a great resource for a department. Chiefs can consider providing NVFC membership, which includes this benefit, to all their department members. It’s only $21 per person per year.
- The Share the Load program features resources, tools, and training to help emergency responders and departments address behavioral health and wellbeing.
- The Psychologically Healthy Fire Departments: Implementation Toolkit and corresponding training provides guidance to leaders on how to support the wellbeing of their members. Departments can also make the commitment to support their members to receive national recognition.