HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) — State Fire Commissioner Bruce Trego announced Wednesday the launch of several new online resources designed to provide mental wellness resources for fire, rescue and emergency medical services personnel across the commonwealth.
More and more of our first responders are affected by the invisible wounds of traumatic experiences they have been through as part of their jobs. Some time ago, many in our profession were hesitant to seek professional help to achieve mental wellness for a variety of reasons.
We now know the potentially devastating effects of this hesitation. Governor Wolf has made addressing mental health needs a priority in the state with his Reach Out PA: Your Mental Health Matters campaign.Bruce Trego, State Fire Commissioner
Left unaddressed, mental and behavioral stress can interfere with day-to-day life, affecting work, sleep, and relationships. Ultimately, stressors can result in diagnosable mental illnesses, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); depression; anxiety and substance use disorders.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, a 2015 study found that over the course of their careers, a troubling number of fire fighters experience suicidal thoughts (46%), make suicide plans (19%) and attempt suicide (15.5%).
Four courses are now available at no cost to PA fire and EMS personnel through an online training portal (TRAIN PA).