Health & Safety

Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance: It Is OK To Ask For Help

 

Letting His Brothers and Sisters Know It Is OK To Ask For Help

Woodstock, IL (July 25, 2011) – Battalion Chief Jeff Dill, of the Palatine Rural Fire Protection District in Inverness, Illinois, announces the formation of Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance (FBHA).
 
The new 501(c) (3) organization was established to directly educate firefighters/ Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel and their families about behavioral health issues such as depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety and addictions, as well as firefighter suicides. 

An Internal Size-Up
” which educates fire officers on how to look for signs and symptoms of behavioral health problems, how to communicate with their employees, confidentiality, and roles/responsibilities and “Saving Those Who Save Others.” Future workshops will be directed at spouses/partners and children of firefighters/EMS. FBHA’s sole goal is to promote good mental health to the men and women of the fire service/EMS and their families, as well as make a significant difference in reducing the numbers of firefighters who are turning to suicide to ease their pain. 

The rapidly increasing number of firefighter suicides is jaw dropping, and as a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Illinois, Jeff knows firsthand that firefighters are faced with emotional needs that are very unique to their occupation, and many are struggling from career related stress. When symptoms occur, a firefighter needs a support system in place that is readily accessible from someone who is qualified and truly understands his or her circumstances.

In addition to increasing behavioral health awareness through speaking events, funding and training resources, the organization will work with Licensed Counselors across the United States to provide professional counseling at discounted rates or complementary for family members of firefighter suicides. When many municipalities across the United States are forced to fund their departments in ways that fall short of providing firefighters with essential needs, FBHA is here to help bridge the resource gap between the clinician world and the fire service.

FBHA will be earmarking its first funds to providing free behavioral health workshops to fire departments across the United States, focusing on behavioral health awareness with a strong drive towards suicide prevention and promoting resources available to firefighters/EMS and their families. Specific behavioral health workshops will include “

This new initiative is also designed to develop funding to assist surviving family members of firefighter suicides, host camps for children of firefighter suicides, and offer an educational scholarship program for children of firefighter suicides, as well as support firefighters and their families suffering from behavioral health issues.

The mission of the FBHA is to collaborate, develop and implement behavioral health awareness, prevention, intervention, and post crisis strategies to provide firefighters with an easily accessible and confidential source of information. Using best practices and protocols, FBHA promotes awareness, education and training, communication, integration of services, resources and support to the men and women of the fire service and EMS. In furtherance of these goals, FBHA undertakes educational projects aimed at chaplain programs that deal with behavioral health issues of firefighters/EMS, survivors and their families. Contributions to FBHA may be deductible from Federal income, gift and estate taxes under the Internal Revenue Code. 

About Jeff Dill

FBHA Founder Jeff Dill holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling, is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Illinois and currently a Battalion Chief at Palatine Rural Fire Protection District in Inverness, Illinois. He is a member of the American Counseling Association, Illinois Counseling Association, Illinois Mental Health Counselors Association, Illinois Fire Chiefs Association, International Association of Fire Chiefs, Illinois Professional Firefighter’s Association and is also an alumni member of International Association of Fire Fighters. He is dedicated to educating firefighters and emergency personnel on the importance of behavioral health and suicide awareness.