The Friday Report

Mental Health Awareness Month: Suicide Prevention and Awareness Resources

Print this Article | Send to Colleague

In 2017, more first responders died by suicide than in the line of duty, and the Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance estimates that only 40% of firefighter suicides are reported.

In 2021, The Department of Justice released a report to the Congress in response to increasing suicides among law enforcement and other first responders. The DOJ that found that two successful ways to lower suicide rates were using support networks, such as peer-to-peer programs, and creating an environment to lower the stigma and fear around asking for help.

Resources and support networks
First responder organizations are trying to change their cultural views on mental illness and related stressors by creating programs to help departments and individuals, such as the following:

  • The National Fallen Firefighter Foundation's Everyone Goes Home program provides a guide to help departments know what to do if a member shares they are thinking about suicide.
  • The Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance offers behavioral health workshops to fire departments, EMS and Dispatch organizations across the globe. The workshops focus on behavioral health awareness with a strong emphasis towards suicide prevention.
  • The National Volunteer Fire Council's Share the Load program offers resources to those seeking help and assists departments as they implement or enhance a behavioral health program.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has resources for suicide prevention among the healthcare workforce.
  • The IAFF Recovery Center offers help to members in need of treatment for successful recovery from substance abuse, PTSD and other co-occuringbehavioral health issues.  

There are several crisis hotlines available. Consider posting this information within your organization.

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
  • National Volunteer Fire Council's Fire/EMS Helpline: 1-888-731-FIRE (3473).
  • Safe Call Now, a confidential, comprehensive 24-hour crisis line and support service for first responders, emergency services personnel, medical professionals and their family members nationwide: 1-206-459-3020.
  • lists individual state helplines.

This article features information based on a 2021 issue of The Infogram, which is a newsletter produced by the Emergency Management and Response Information Sharing and Analysis Center.  


Back to The Friday Report