Statistics show 1 in 4 people suffer from some form of mental illness in any given year. Firefighters are three times more likely to die from suicide than in the line of duty. According to the Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance, 105 firefighters took their own lives in the United States in 2014. The US Firefighters Association (USFA reports that about 10 percent of firefighters may be abusing illicit substances and that alcohol abuse among this population is more than twice the rates seen in the general public. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, depression, and suicidal thoughts and behaviors among first responders are also common and believed to be triggered or worsened by repeat exposure to trauma, including physical abuse and death among the people they serve, loss of people close to them, and life-threatening situations.
Help is available and know it's okay to ask for help. The links below are to organizations and other resources available if you need to reach out for help.
Illinois Fire Service Institute First Responder Resiliency Program
Illinois Firefighter Peer Support Group or call toll free at 855-90-SUPPORT.
IAFF Center of Excellence
Illinois Department of Human Services: Click here for more Resources