Fire Captains talk post-traumatic stress injury in firefighters

Post-traumatic stress injuries are having a devastating impact on all of our first responders, including firefighters.

Carlos Amezcua sat down with Fire Captain Jeff Griffith and Jeff Dill from the National Firefighters Behavioral Health Alliance to talk about firefighter PTSI and suicide prevention.

Post-traumatic stress injury (PTSI) is a mental health injury and is the leading cause of death for first responders. PTSI occurs with repeated exposure to life altering events, such as being on the front lines of repeated disaster. Fires, homicides, mass shootings, and domestic violence are just a few of the traumatic events firefighters face on a regular basis.

These are life changing events, not only for the individual civilians involved, but also for the first responders who address these issues regularly in the line of duty. According to Jeff Dill, firefighter suicides out pace line of duty deaths by 50%, in other words, half of all deaths in the firefighting community are suicides.

Last year, 108 firefighters took their lives. It is estimated that 40% of suicides within the firefighter community go unreported due to the stigma placed on mental health issues. But, the cost of not addressing this crisis leads to failed outcomes for the civilian population; loss of productivity, firefighters who struggle with sound judgment and an increase of self-inflicted injuries.

Jeff Dill is determined to save firefighters’ lives through special workshops designed by a firefighter, for a firefighter.

The workshops are offered to fire departments across the nation. They focus on behavioral health awareness, suicide prevention, and making resources available to help firefighters and their families.

Categories: Good Morning San Diego, Health, Wildfires