Provide comprehensive mental health and well-being resources, including those focused on suicide prevention, for all fire and EMS personnel.
Key Firefighter Mental Health and Well-Being Downloads
An increasing number of firefighters die by suicide, experiencing mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress, contracted from exposures they suffered while delivering emergency services to the public. There is a lack of culturally competent mental health and wellness specialists to assist firefighters, and local Employee Assistance Programs are ill-equipped to assist first responders.
Firefighters and other rescue personnel develop post-traumatic stress at a similar rate to military service members returning from combat, according to an August 2016 study from the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology. It reveals that approximately 20 percent of firefighters and paramedics meet the criteria for post-traumatic stress at some point during their careers1 compared to a 6.8 percent lifetime risk for the general population. The connection between PTSD and traumatizing rescue work is clear.
The number of firefighter suicides is estimated to be at least 100 per year. According to the “Ruderman White Paper on Mental Health and Suicide of First Responders,”2 the suicide rate for firefighters is 18 per 100,000 compared to 13 per 100,000 for the general public.
- USFA: Emerging Health and Safety Issues Among Women in the Fire Service (March 2019)
- USFA: Critical Health and Safety Issues in the Volunteer Fire Service (December 2016)
- Ruderman Family Foundation: Ruderman White Paper Update on Mental Health and Suicide of First Responders (May 2022)
- National Institute of Health/National Library of Medicine: Articles on Post-Traumatic Stress in Firefighters