Prioritizing First Responder Mental Health

Here is what keeps me motivated in this tough non profit climate:  Our first responders (FRs) have done such emotional heavy lifting for so many years now, and have received minimal support.  

First Responders 1st (FR1) exists to come alongside of our FRs and help them remain holistically healthy – supporting their emotional, physical, spiritual and social health. 

Emotional health is a key component in everyone’s lives – one that is often overlooked. The World Health Alliance issued a report that every 40 seconds someone dies by suicide – and daily, there are 50,000 attempts. 

Unfortunately, FRs are not immune to these statistics – if anything, they are more likely to succumb to them. There are a staggering amount of FRs that fall into the categories mentioned above.

A recent study by the Ruderman Family Foundation (RFF) ‘revealed that first responders (policemen and firefighters) are more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty.’

This fact proves that the need for mental healthcare and services – especially for our FRs. The RFF states that 40% of firefighters’ suicides aren’t even being reported because of the stigma attached to it.  If FRs are willing to run toward danger each day to save lives, why aren’t we, as a society, willing to run to their aid to save their lives as they battle years of traumatic experiences? Without the opportunity to properly process their experiences, untreated PTSD and other mental health issues will continue to take the lives of our local heroes.  

It is refreshing to see the television commercials that are popping up giving recognition and encouragement to our local heroes, (Verizon, CPI Security, etc), but there is much more that needs to be done. 

This is where FR1 comes in: currently, only about 5% of law enforcement agencies nationwide have a suicide prevention plan in place for their employees (RFF). Our chaplains are trained in suicide prevention and mental health issues- Lonnie just finished a course from Cardinal Innovations Healthcare on suicide prevention. FR1 is also speaking with local agencies on the importance of having a suicide intervention plan in place.

There is a major need…will you consider supporting FR1 as we stand on the front lines and provide emotional and spiritual support for our FRs? 

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