Help for Depression and Post Traumatic Stress

by Peggy Sweeney

“It is an established fact that stress and traumatic events influence a person’s susceptibility to heart attacks, strokes, and other medical problems. I strongly believe that fire departments [as well as police, EMS, dispatchers] must recognize the importance of programs that focus on depression, post traumatic stress, and suicide prevention. Training them to deal with trauma, stress, and grief is no less important than training them to be safe on the fire ground.

“No longer can job-related stress in the fire service be ignored. It is the duty and responsibility of every fire service officer to provide for and enhance the emotional wellness of his or her department as well as themselves if needed. Without the support and dedication of everyone traumatic stress and grief will continue to take a toll on firefighters and their families”. ~~Peggy SweeneyWhere can firefighters, EMTs, police and correctional officers and emergency dispatchers turn for help if it is not offered through their departments? You can find help here:

West Coast Trauma Retreat
The WCPR program is for first responders whose lives have been impacted by their work experience. WCPR is one of only two residential treatment facilities of its kind in the world. The other program is the On-Site Academy in Massachusetts, with which WCPR is affiliated. The WCPR residential program provides an educational experience designed to help current and retired first responders, recognize the signs and symptoms of work-related stress including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in themselves and in others.

Andy O’Hara, California Highway Patrol (retired)
Badge of Life 

A free program designed for all emergency responders–police, fire, dispatchers, and paramedics.

Badge of Life Canada

Clarke Paris, Sergeant with the Las Vegas (NV) Metropolitan Police Department 
The Pain Behind the Badge

Skip Straus, Founder and Master Chaplain
Emergency Ministries

Ed Stauffer, Founder and Executive Director
Federation of Fire Chaplains

Kate and David Tonacia
Picking Up the Peaces (Australia)

Firefighter PTSD
A closed group page for discussions of Firefighter with PTSD

National Suicide Prevention Hotline (800) 273-8255 
They are, by far, the most reliable, professional service available for responders.