Share The Load Program
Share the Load™ Support Program for Fire and EMS
Most people are aware of the physical demands that first response activities place on firefighters and EMS providers. But it is important to also realize the impact that fighting fires and responding to emergencies has on the mental wellbeing of emergency personnel. Firefighters and EMS providers face the risk of many behavioral health concerns such as anxiety, depression, burnout, post-traumatic stress disorder, and addiction among others.
Taking care of your mental health is as important as managing your physical health. The NVFC’s Share the Load™ program provides access to critical resources and information to help first responders and their families manage and overcome personal and work-related problems. This includes the Directory of Behavioral Health Professionals as a resource to find local assistance for behavioral health issues, as well as the Fire/EMS Helpline, which offers free 24-hour assistance with addiction issues.
The resources in this section can assist individuals seeking help for a behavioral health issue as well as departments looking to implement or enhance a behavioral health program.
Note: If you need immediate support, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available at 1-800-273-8255 for talk or https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ for chat. If you’re experiencing a crisis, you can also use the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.
- The Directory of Behavioral Health Professionals lists local providers who are equipped and ready to help firefighters, EMS providers, rescue workers, dispatchers, and their families.
- The Fire/EMS Helpline at 1-888-731-FIRE (3473) is available to all firefighters, EMS providers, and their families for assistance relating to addiction concerns.
- Share the Load™ Resources include the Helpletter, posters, ads, family guide, suicide prevention report, and training.
- Share the Load Videos feature warning signs to watch for, personal stories, how to talk to someone who needs help, and resources that are available.
- Additional fire service and EMS behavioral health resources include organizations, helplines, reports, courses, and webinars.
- View articles and news on behavioral health topics.
Heroes Health App
The UNC School of Medicine has released a free app that enables first responders and healthcare workers to track their mental well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic and easily access mental health resources. Sign up as an individual or as a department.
National Fire Service Suicide Reporting System
We tragically lose dozens of firefighters and EMTs each year to suicide. The Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance is the nationally recognized reporting system for collecting data about firefighter suicide. The reporting system is confidential and the data is used to identify trends and prevent future instances of firefighter and EMT suicide. To report a suicide, go to www.ffbha.org and click on “FF Suicide Report” in the left menu.