Suicide Prevention

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.

If you or someone you know needs immediate help for suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.TALK (8255).

According to a study of 1,027 retired and current fire fighters conducted by the Journal of Affective Disorders:

  • 8% of fire fighters had suicidal thoughts or ideas

  • 2% of fire fighters made plans to commit suicide

  • 5% of fire fighters made a suicidal attempt

  • 4% of fire fighters harmed themselves but did not commit suicide

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.

The following behaviors may be signs that you or someone you know is considering suicide:

  • Talking about feeling trapped or wanting to die
  • Expressing feels of hopelessness
  • Feeling like there is no reason to live
  • Worrying about being a burden to others
  • Increasing drug and alcohol use
  • Partaking in reckless behavior
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Withdrawing or isolating from others
  • Displaying extreme mood swings

Don't wait. Call today.

Get the best treatment options.

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.

Medical Disclaimer: The IAFF Center of Excellence aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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