It is estimated that 30% of First Responders develop behavioral health conditions, including depression and PTSD, as compared with 20% of the general population. First Responders are usually the first on the scene to face challenging, dangerous, and draining situations. These duties, although essential, are strenuous and can lead to behavioral health consequences if not addressed. IRMA's Fire Chiefs Steering Committee has adopted a Mental Health Stand Down to raise awareness and provide resources and support to the First Responder Community and their families. All are welcome to join this Stand Down, sending the message that mental health matters.
A Letter from the FCSC Officers
May 16th, The Impact of Chronic Work Related Trauma and Loss on First Responders: Risk, Resilience and New Directions for Support and Assistance
Firefighters and other first responders are exposed to a wide range of often acute traumatic events in their day-to-day work; over time, these traumatic events may also be associated with feelings of personal and professional loss. Most firefighters/first responders are resilient and effectively utilize personal strengths and positive coping strategies, but the cumulative work-related exposure to trauma and loss can sometimes lead to physical, emotional, psychological, social, spiritual, and perspective changes. These changes can negatively impact the firefighter/first responders themselves, but also their co-workers and peers, partners, family members, and friends. Factors that influence firefighter/first responder risk and resilience include professional culture, rules, and expectations, systems and structures, the day-to-day aspects of the job, personal vulnerabilities, and sense of meaning and purpose. Although some resources and supports are available to assist firefighters/first responders who are experiencing trauma and loss reactions, several challenges and barriers still limit their accessibility and effectiveness.
Janna A. Henning, J.D., Psy.D., F.T.
Bridgepoint Psychology Center
Janna A. Henning Bio
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May 17th, PTSD vs. Moral Injury
This interactive presentation involves careful examination of firefighter suicides, an introduction to PTSD, and Moral Injury. PTSD will be reviewed and explained on how it effects members of the first responder world. The presenter will introduce the concept of "Moral Injury", the role it plays, and how this compares to PTSD. The session will review suicide data collected by FBHA and how this supports that moral injury plays a larger role than PTSD in first responder culture.
Jeff Dill, CEO Founder
Jeff Dill Bio
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May 18th, Illinois Fire Service Institute's Resiliency Program
May 19th, A Year After a Fire Department Suicide
First Responders experience unavoidable stress and traumatic events in the course of their vocation. If these challenges are not dealt with in a productive manner, they can lead to emotional and behavioral health problems. Since many of the current ways to deal with these challenges revolve around assistance and treatment after the event, the Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI) has sought to change the fire service culture relative to mental health and resiliency by adding training to many of its courses. This culture change will occur by helping First Responders to be aware of the components of resiliency when they encounter stressful events. This webinar will take you through the program and the benefits to all firefighters.
On May 19, 2021, the Village of La Grange Fire Department lost a member of the Department to suicide. In this session, Chief Vavra will review the days, weeks and months that followed and how the Department, with help from Chaplain Tim Perry of 10-41 Incorporated, is emerging from the grief and looking to prevent further loss in the future.
Fire Chief Terrence Vavra, Village of LaGrange, &
Rev. Tim Perry, CEO Nationwide Chaplain Services & 10-41 Incorporated
Fire Chief Vavra Bio
Rev. Tim Perry Bio
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May 20th, Substance Use and Mental Health in the First Responder Population: When and How to Intervene
This presentation will take look at the specific population of first responders and what makes this group of individuals more susceptible to challenges with substance use and mental health disorders. We will explore how workplace cultural, demands of the job and individual personalities all contribute to the increased risk in this group. Through case examples and real life shared experience attendees will gain a greater understating of signs and symptoms to look for in firefighters, different ways to intervene and resources for these individuals and their families.
Renee Most, MA LADC
Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation
Renee Most Bio
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