Community Education: Occupational Needs and Suicide in the Fire Service

Author: IAFF Center of Excellence Staff

September 17, 2020

The IAFF Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Treatment and Recovery is offering three community education webinars throughout September for fire service professionals and clinicians, targeting behavioral health and suicide prevention planning. Community education webinars are free, open to the public and hosted through Zoom.

Work-Life Balance in the Fire Service

This webinar addressed the importance of establishing a work-life balance in an ever-changing, high-stress, occupational environment, such as that for fire fighters, paramedics and emergency dispatchers. On Thursday, September 10, 2020, at 12:00 p.m. EST, we explored what work-life balance is, what it isn’t and how to maintain balance amid the unpredictable nature of work in emergency services. Participants were asked to evaluate:
  • What are my priorities?
  • Where do I feel excess stress in my life?
  • How can I regain control over my time?
Discussion topics also included healthy habits that fire service personnel can integrate into everyday life to improve work-life balance, as well as tips for self-care, strategies to improve time management and realistic goal setting. This presentation is ideal for IAFF members, fire service leadership, peer support team members, chaplains, spouses and other individuals in a capacity to support first responders in pursuing a work-life balance.

This webinar was delivered by Molly Jones, LSW, Clinical Outreach Coordinator for the IAFF Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Treatment and Recovery.

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Behavioral Health Among Fire Fighters and Paramedics: Treating Occupational Needs

This webinar, on Thursday, September 17, 2020, at 12:00 p.m. EST, will introduce attendees to the unique needs of fire service members seeking behavioral healthcare. Additionally, participants will understand how the occupational demands of the fire service impact a member’s behavioral health, learn new or enhanced best practices for treating fire service professionals and discuss appropriate treatment options considering these unique occupational needs, including medication management, psycho-education and coping strategies.

This presentation is ideal for medical and clinical professionals seeking to treat or currently treating fire service members and IAFF members, fire service leadership, peer support team members, chaplains, spouses and other individuals in a capacity to support first responders in treatment and recovery.

This webinar is delivered by Dr. Abby Morris, a board-certified psychiatrist and medical director at the IAFF Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Treatment and Recovery. In her three and a half years at the IAFF Center of Excellence, Dr. Morris has worked with more than 1,300 professional fire fighters, paramedics and dispatchers, and has developed unique insight into effective strategies for treating these individuals that will be shared with attendees.

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Suicide in the Fire Service: Prevention Planning & Intervention Strategies

This webinar on Thursday, September 24, 2020, at 12:00 p.m. EST will address the important issue of suicide among fire service members and equip participants with practical strategies and preparedness for prevention within their own agencies. Dr. Brandy Benson, PsyD, will discuss unique, potential warning signs of suicidality among fire service members and first responders, as well as protective factors present within the population. In addition, this presentation will seek to dispel myths and misconceptions about suicide within the fire service and provide a step-by-step process for assessment and intervention with a suicidal person.

This presentation is ideal for IAFF members, clinicians, fire service leadership, peer support team members, chaplains, spouses and other individuals who may be seeking to learn more about suicide in the fire service and ways they can contribute to prevention efforts.

This webinar will be delivered by Dr. Brandy Benson, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist and the owner of Tampa Bay Psychology Associates in Clearwater, Florida. She specializes in the behavioral health and wellness of first responders and her clientele ranges between law enforcement, fire rescue, emergency medical personnel, dispatchers, federal agents and their family members. Dr. Benson’s areas of service include crisis intervention, trauma therapy and Employee Assistance Program (EAP) development and provision. She also specializes in fitness-for-duty, pre-employment, post-incident and psychological clearance evaluations. Most recently, Dr. Benson was hired by several agencies to assist with consultation and development of Officer Wellness and Safety programs to support increased use of mental health services by employees, as well as overall resiliency and prevention efforts for PTSD, suicide and other psychological conditions impacting first responder communities.

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View Past Webinars Here

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