Saving lives can be rewarding and exciting, but the emotional burden of working as a fire fighter or paramedic can also become overwhelming. It’s true that it takes a certain amount of toughness to stomach the heartbreaking work that fire fighters and paramedics do, but over time, the weight of witnessing tragedy can become too much to bear. In an attempt to cope, some turn to substances , while others develop behavioral health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, or depression. Some struggle with both. In more severe cases, some may even consider suicide. Suicide is a serious problem in the fire service. In fact, more fire fighters take their own lives nationwide every year than are killed in the line of duty.
Knowing some of the warning signs of suicidal thoughts could save your life, or the life of someone you love. If something seems off, don’t ignore it. Your intervention could be the difference between life and death.
Your story doesn’t have to end with suicide. Too many people have died already. If you’re struggling, ask for help. If someone you love is suffering, reach out to them. At the IAFF Center of Excellence, our team of doctors and clinicians understand how difficult being a fire fighter or paramedic can be. We’re here to help you overcome suicidal thoughts, manage behavioral health problems or start your recovery from addiction. Reach out to our PTSD and Mental Health hotline today to take the first step toward the rediscovery of fulfillment in your job and in your life.