We’ve Got Your Back – Chief Ed Mann

If the ambulance you drive or ride in isn’t running right, you’ll most likely have a mechanic check it out. When the fire apparatus you’re driving breaks down, you’ll call a mechanic to fix it. And when the public calls 911, we drop what we’re doing and dash to the rescue.

So, why is it when first responders are having problems, we are so reluctant to seek help? Is it fear that our fellow first responders will find out? Or do we still subscribe to the old-school mentality of “suck it up, buttercup”?

According to the Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance (FHBA), 89 firefighters and 16 EMS workers died from suicide in 2021, and that number may increase as new reports are validated by the organization.

Sadly, for many years, there wasn’t a great deal of help available specifically for first responders when they were suffering. Fortunately, in recent years, that has changed dramatically. Today help is available, and there are many options:

It’s important we know about these resources and do all we can to help others and ourselves in stressful times.

Get educated on the signs and symptoms of PTSD and suicide; it may well put you in a position to assist a friend or co-worker.

I’m going to tell you straight up: It’s okay to reach out and talk to somebody when “things are not quite right under our hood”! I have reached out twice in my 49-year career to talk to a mental health expert. I was not suicidal, but things were not going well, and I wasn’t myself. I look back on those times as needing a check-up. I tell you, it was well worth my time to simply talk to someone. It made all the difference.

The bottom-line is simple: It’s perfectly alright to seek help. You don’t have to go it alone—so don’t!

To learn more about our First Responder Assistance Program (FRAP) mentioned above, please reach out to us at info@providentins.com or call us at (855) 201-8880.

-Chief Ed Mann, November 2022