Health & Safety

Preventing Suicide in Firefighters Suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress

Issue 3 and Volume 171.

  By Dena Ali   In recent years, suicide has emerged as a national public health crisis.1 According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 40,000 people in the United States die by suicide annually, and these high rates of suicide have led the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to advocate for the examination of at-risk subgroups and high-risk occupational groups.2 Firefighting was identified as having an elevated risk for workplace suicides.3 A 15-year retrospective study of firefighter deaths in North Carolina revealed that a firefighter was three times more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty.4 Because of the stigma surrounding mental health disorders and suicide, these topics have historically not been discussed in the fire service; yet, firefighters suffer from many mental health problems. Past research has revealed elevated rates of depression, substance abuse, alcohol abuse, sleep disturbances,…

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