Archive for November, 2014

Welcome Message for New Facebook Followers

Hello and welcome!

With mental health and suicide gaining traction as a topic of discussion in the fire service and EMS, we’d like to take a moment of your time to share details about FBHA. While we are the first and only group collecting data on firefighter and EMS suicide, other organizations are looking to get involved and we’d like to share resources we have available and explain why we are considered an authority on suicide data reporting.

Being the first organization to address firefighter suicide has not always been easy and we continue to face challenges today, but remain committed to our purpose for countless reasons, including survivor support. Many families who have lost a loved one in the fire service to suicide have faced feeling rejected and disrespected by organizations that deal with firefighter/EMS deaths from other situations, including line of duty deaths. While we understand each organization has a specific mission, and respect all organizations for their protocols, it should be noted that Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance stands shoulder to shoulder with any family facing the loss of someone in the fire service. There is no situation too dark or too delicate for our assistance. We have stood firmly behind these principles even when it was much more difficult to talk about suicide and mental health in the firehouse, and will continue to do so.

We are so thankful for other groups committed to bettering the health of first responders, especially those who have become partners with FBHA. To have others take up this fight with us is both flattering and empowering. We believe that we are stronger together and our exclusive reporting service is an important tool for all of our partner organizations. As I mentioned earlier, FBHA is the only organization in the world that collects data on firefighter and EMS suicide and is considered by leaders in the fire service across the US and Canada as the authority for suicide reporting. Every time a suicide is submitted to us for data collection (which can be done securely and anonymously on our website, we sort through details and use it, along with the hundreds of other deaths we’ve confirmed, to provide feedback to EMS and fire officials. This is significant, because in order to stop these suicides, we must learn why they happen and share that information. While we keep information about all cases private, we are able to use what we learn to help others. We are dedicated to this task and are so glad to hear from those of you, far and wide, who support our efforts.

Our founder, Jeff Dill, holds a Master’s degree, is a Licensed Counselor, member of the American Counseling Association, Illinois Counseling Association, Illinois Mental Health Counselors Association, and is a member of several firefighting organizations including the International Association of Firefighters and Illinois Firefighters Association. Because of his education, years of experience, and ability to successfully create workshops which educate those in the fire service and EMS about suicide, we have not only created a powerful organization, but also have become a catalyst for an entire movement. We are proud to be among those leading the charge to break down the stigma of mental illness in the fire service and happy to be the only organization collecting suicide reports on our  brothers and sisters, no matter how difficult.

We invite all of you, no matter where you are, to become participants in our work and take up this fight with us. Information is available at our website (, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter and we welcome you to drop an e-mail to us at anytime. We look forward to your support!

Lauren Mauser, FBHA Fundraising Coordinator

You can reach Lauren at and Jeff Dill at

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The Holidays Are Upon Us

Jeff Dill-Founder

Reprint from December 2009 Article:

As I write this article the holidays are upon us.  According to an Andy Williams Christmas song,“This is the most wonderful time of the year”.   Yet, for some firefighters out there it can be frustrating, scary and sometimes a very depressive time.

For these brothers and sisters of ours it can turn into a tragic season.  Just within the past week I have heard and/or read of three of our brothers who took their own lives.  All that remains are the families and friends who are grieving and wondering why? Or, what could we have done to help?

One of the main causes of suicides is depression, which does not show any discrimination.  It doesn’t care about job titles, religion, race, age or gender.  It weaves a web of destruction that causes chaos in the lives of those who are suffering from depression.  Time and space restrict me from going deeper into explaining the many sides of depression.

Here are signs and symptoms of depression according to The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-IV (DSM-IV).  They are weight loss, insomnia, restlessness or slowing down, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, confusion and recurring thoughts of death.

If you see a fellow firefighter (or anyone) with these signs or symptoms please have them seek out professional help.  We are always protecting each other while on the fire-ground.  My hope is that we can protect each other at all times.

If you have feed back, please do not hesitate to contact me at

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When God Made Paramedics


by Lesley Karonika

When God made paramedics, He was on His sixth day of overtime, An angel appeared and said,”You are doing a lot of fiddling around on this one.” God said, “Have you read the specs on this order?”

“A paramedic has to be able to carry an injured person up a wet, grassy hill in the dark, dodge stray bullets to reach a dying child unarmed, enter the homes the health inspector wouldn’t touch, and not wrinkle his uniform.”

“He has to be able to lift three times his own weight. Crawl into wrecked cars with barely enough room to move, and console a grieving mother as he is doing CPR on a baby he know will never breathe again.”  He has to be in top mental condition at all times, running on no sleep, black coffee and half-eaten meals, and he has to have six pairs of hands.”

The angel shook her head slowly and said, “Six pairs of hands… way.”  “It’s not the hands that are causing me  problems,” God replied, “It’s the three pairs of eyes a medic has to have.”  “That’s on the standard model?” asked the angel.

God nodded. “One pair that sees open sores as he’s drawing blood, always wondering if the patient is HIV positive.” (When he knows and wishes he’d taken that accounting job.)

“Another pair here in the side of his head for his partner’s safety.  And another pair of eyes here in front that can look reassuringly at a bleeding victim and say, ‘You’ll be alright ma’am, when he know it isn’t so.’”

“Lord,” said the angel, touching His sleeve, “rest and work on this tomorrow.” “I can’t,” God replied.  “I already have a model that can talk a 250 pound drunk from behind a steering wheel without incident and feed a family of five on a private service paycheck.”  The angel circled the model of the Paramedic very slowly.  “Can it think?” she asked.

“You bet,” God said. “It can tell you the symptoms of 100 illnesses; recite drug calculations in its sleep; intubate, defibrillate, medicate, and continue CPR nonstop over terrain that any doctor would fear….and it still keeps its sense of humor.”

“This medic also has a phenomenal personal control.  He can deal with a multi-victim trauma, coax a frightened elderly person to unlock their door, comfort a murder victim’s family, and the read in the daily newspaper how Paramedics were unable to locate a house quickly enough, allowing the person to die.  A house that had no street sign, no house numbers, and no phone to call back.”

Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek of the Paramedic.

“There’s a leak,” she pronounced. ” I told You that You were trying to put too much into this model.”  “That’s not a leak.” God replied, “It’s a tear.”  “What’s the tear for?” asked the angel.

“It’s for bottled-up emotions, for patients they’ve tried in vain to save, for commitment to that hope that they will make a difference in a person’s chance to survive, for life.”  “You’re a genius!” said the angel.

God looked somber.


I am not the author of this poem.  And I could not find who authored it.  But it speaks about my husband, the medics I fly with on the helicopter; Those that work on the ground for 24 hour shifts.  It was pressed on my heart by our Lord to share it here on my blog because I know so many of you will relate.

I got the poem from a Bible, The EMS Bible.  This bible was given to my husband as gift from our pastor.   During a time of trouble and illness, I had turned to our pastor for help.  Prayer is powerful and it works.  That is what I know.  My husband was going through some kind of illness that can only be explained by only one thing; which is what his mind, body, and spirit has endured for 20 years in EMS.  I want to someday share that story here on my blog in hopes that it will help one of you.  Point out some things that may not be obvious to you but relevent.  Or maybe a paramedic’s spouse will be prepared to intervene for their loved one.  Because it defiantly took me by surprise that day.  The day our lives changed.  Because what happened to my husband could happen to yours.

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