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Firefighter Mental Health: Are We Really Saving Our Own?

By Eric Paniak Firefighters talk about saving our own, but are we just talking about on the fireground? Why is it that when one of our own is having emotional problems we at times alienate or isolate them? Our job is inherently dangerous and mentally taxing on our families and firefighters. When one of our own has an injury or physical illness, we support him and his family. But if that illness be depression or substance abuse, we tend to back away like it is contagious. We are both physically and mentally tough, so why does this happen to us? I have been sober for 13 years now. Right at the time I was at my lowest, all my brothers isolated me and forgot about me. I am a good firefighter ...

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