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, ffbha.org) 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 (www.ffbha.org), 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 firstname.lastname@example.org and Jeff Dill at email@example.com