Mental Health First Aid USA Launches New Module to Address Unique Needs of First Responders
A training program to specifically target the mental health needs of firefighters and EMS workers
WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 15, 2018) – With one out of every five persons experiencing a mental illness every year, it is highly probable that firefighters and emergency medical service (EMS) personnel will encounter someone facing a mental health or substance use crisis. That is why the National Council for Behavioral Health today announced its newly created Mental Health First Aid training supplement that provides firefighters and EMS personnel with the skills they need to support themselves, the people they serve and their colleagues through a mental health or addiction crisis – the Fire/EMS module.
It has also become widely recognized that first responders are almost four times more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty, often driven by the traumatic, high-stress situations they encounter daily in a culture that discourages any sign of weakness. By openly addressing and acknowledging the mental health challenges they face, we can embrace the notion that these issues are no different than any other injury or disease. We can also ensure they get the mental health support and services they need.
“Firefighters and EMS workers are first on the scene to not only witness an accident, injury or shocking event, but also deal with the emotional repercussions – both within themselves and their community,” said Linda Rosenberg, president and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health. “Over time, that takes a toll, and the Fire/EMS module was created to address that. It’s critical they know what services are available to them and where to go for help – we owe them that.”
Mental Health First Aid for Fire/EMS provides a fundamental understanding of the common mental health challenges experienced by first responders and the skills to identify and respond to people who may be in crisis. The program also teaches post-crisis strategies for first responders to better assess and access support for themselves, their colleagues and community members.
“The stigma surrounding mental health is so severe that many of our first responders cope by turning to alcohol, using prescription medications and attempting or completing suicide,” said Angela Leath, crisis intervention administrator for Las Vegas Fire and Rescue. “The time to start recognizing and joining together to initiate change for this population is well overdue, and this is where Mental Health First Aid for Fire/EMS will play a vital role.”
To learn more about Mental Health First Aid for Fire/EMS, please visit www.MentalHealthFirstAid.org.
About the National Council for Behavioral Health
The National Council for Behavioral Health is the unifying voice of America’s health care organizations that deliver mental health and addictions treatment and services. Together with our 2,900 member organizations serving over 10 million adults, children and families living with mental illnesses and addictions, the National Council is committed to all Americans having access to comprehensive, high-quality care that affords every opportunity for recovery. The National Council introduced Mental Health First Aid USA and more than 1 million Americans have been trained. For more information about the National Council, visit www.TheNationalCouncil.org.
Jamie Mondics, (215) 439-8512