It's okay to not be okay
Did you know that a 2018 study found that firefighters die by suicide at a higher rate than their police counterparts, as well as the public: at 18 for every 100,000, versus 11-17 for every 100,000 police and 13 in the general population? And did you know that firefighters are more likely to die by suicide than on duty, and rates of depression and post-traumatic stress disorders are as much as five-times higher than that of the general population?
The Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance (FBHA) is committed to behavioral health awareness with a strong emphasis towards suicide prevention and promoting resources available to firefighters/EMS workers/Dispatchers and their families.
Each year, they hold a weekend retreat for "Those Left Behind", the families of firefighters, EMS workers, and Dispatchers who have died by suicide. But because of COVID-19, this year's event—slated for this past weekend—had to be cancelled.
So instead—and in recognition of Mental Health Awareness month—our C-shift crews participated in the FBHA's #WeRemember light display last Friday, turning on emergency lights at various stations across Austin, including Station 33, for one minute to show our support for all of the families (including our own fire family) who have suffered this tragic loss.
A pandemic won't stop the work we're all doing to end the rate of first responder suicide deaths.
Remember: No one fights alone.