We woke up this morning to the tragic news of another celebrity committing suicide. (Anthony Bourdais). He is the second celebrity to take their own life this week, and it has been all over the national news. Did you know that first responders are more likely to die from suicide than in-the-line-of-duty deaths? There were approximately 250 reported suicides of police officers and firefighters last year alone. What most people do not know is that about 40% of their suicides aren’t even reported. When they are reported, it is rare that we even hear about them.
One of the contributing factors to this alarming suicide rate is that first responders witness about 200 critical events in their careers that have profound implications on their quality of life. These critical events impact first responder’s lives and the lives of those closest to them as the majority of time they bring this emotional turmoil home with them at the end of their shift.
This is where FR1 comes in. I recently read that just 3-5% of the US law enforcement agencies have suicide prevention training programs. FR1 is dedicated to providing an opportunity for our local first responders to get confidential emotional and psychological counseling free of charge. Those in management at the departments have agreed that this is a much-needed service, and they are grateful that FR1 is willing to undertake this expense. I had a conversation with an officer last week and explained this program to him, and he was extremely thankful for this opportunity, as he has just recently experienced a significant critical event.
This is where I take a moment and thank each and every one of you that are contributing to FR1 with your time, resources and prayers. Our first responders need us now more than ever before. Thanks so much for all you do for them. It is an honor to serve them on your behalf. –Lonnie