Health & Safety

Can Peer Support Prevent Firefighter Suicide?

Issue 11 and Volume 170.

By Dena Ali   Suicide is a human tragedy that often results when the decedent incorrectly concludes that his death could be a service to others.1 It, unfortunately, is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Only recently have mental health professionals begun to understand its traceable causes. Psychological autopsy studies of suicide decedents regularly return rates of mental health disorders above 90 percent; Dr. Thomas E. Joiner suspects that the true rate is closer to 100 percent.2 These mental health disorders include but are not limited to anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). If the disorders are diagnosed and addressed, a variety of treatments are available to alter an individual’s life trajectory to prevent suicide.3 (1) Although a person determined to complete suicide will prevail, hope lies in the fact that most people who desire to kill themselves at one time will feel differently after receiving…

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