Below is a self-screening for suicide ideations for firefighters/EMT. Please circle either Y= Yes, or N=No. When you have completed screening please review your score at the end of the screening.
If you circled question 14, 15 or 16, SEEK HELP IMMEDIATELY by Dialing 911
or calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
or calling the Share the Load Program 1-888-731-3473
Once you have reached one of the above, call a trusted family member, friend, chaplain, or counselor.
Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance (FBHA) recommends that if a person answers YES to at least three of these questions, it would be recommended that you contact a local Mental Health Care Professional that deals with firefighters/EMTs that suffer from suicidal ideations and depression. If you need assistance in finding a counselor in your area, contact FBHA for further information at 847-209-8208.
COURTESY OF FIREFIGHTER BEHAVIORAL HEALTH ALLIANCE
PTSD & AddictionSubstance abuse is extremely common among individuals who have experienced a traumatic event.
Most often, this occurs as a result of patients self-medicating in order to alleviate symptoms associated with PTSD, including depression, anxiety and panic. To accommodate the needs of these patients, many rehabilitation facilities offer various treatments and therapies that can treat both post-traumatic stress disorder and addiction to drugs and alcohol.
50% of those who suffer from PTSD also abuse alcohol
Dependency on nicotine is nearly twice as common in people with PTSD
People with PTSD are 3x more likely to abuse drugs than people without PTSD
“Just Get Over It!”Have you ever had someone tell you to just get on with your life after you have experienced a traumatizing event?Do you feel distant from others and have “out of body” flashbacks of your trauma? Does it feel impossible to ever get over the sudden death of your loved one, the sexual assault, or the war experience? You may suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder, a common and debilitating mental illness.
When we experience something traumatic or life threatening, it is normal for our bodies to activate our “fight for flight” response to deal with the overwhelming situation. This is a healthy response to protect our bodies. We may for a time feel sad, upset, or frightened. But after a period of time, the pain diminishes, and our lives return to normal.
When Your Life UnravelsWhen you suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder, the “fight for flight” response becomes badly damaged.Instead of the body and mind returning to a normal state after a terrifying event, the mind goes on overload, and PTSD symptoms start to develop.
If this has happened to you, you may find that the trauma you experienced is nearly impossible to get over on your own. You may feel a range of overwhelming emotions such as unexplained anger, depression, anxiety, and irritability. You may feel extremely tired, hyper-aroused, or have trouble digesting your food.
Sometimes it is difficult for you to understand that the symptoms you are experiencing are actually posttraumatic stress disorder because the trauma may have been experienced years ago, even in your childhood, and it is almost impossible for you to identify exactly what is causing your life to unravel.
You Are Not AloneIt is important to realize that anyone can suffer from PTSD, and roughly 8% of all Americans (that’s up to 7 million people!) will have PTSD during their lifetime.You are not alone in suffering from PTSD, and it is not a sign of mental weakness to have PTSD. There are many factors that cause PTSD to develop (such as personality traits you were born with and how your brain responds to stress). Many people don’t understand how complex PTSD is and wonder can PTSD cause addiction?
If you find yourself suffering from these three cluster symptoms for over one month, please seek professional help.
NIMH & SUICIDE
Suicide is an urgent, complex public health crisis. The Suicide Research Team was formed as part of NIMH’s commitment to helping reduce the suicide rate by 20% by 2025.
Suicide ResearchSuicide is a significant global public health problem. Formed in November 2019, the Suicide Research Team leads NIMH’s suicide research activities and coordinates outreach initiatives that engage key agencies and stakeholders supporting research and other efforts to help prevent suicide.
The team’s work focuses on areas that align with the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention and significantly impact the Institute’s commitment to reducing the suicide rate by 20% by 2025. This includes activities like advancing suicide prevention research in health care settings. The team also focuses on potential increases in suicide-associated risks due to the COVID-19 pandemic (for example, distress associated with unemployment) and increases in suicide risk for underserved populations. The team’s initiatives are continually evolving to meet newer and emerging priorities, such as concerning trends in youth suicide, especially among Black youth.
The Suicide Research Team helps develop suicide-related workshops and funding opportunities to address suicide prevention research gaps. Topics range from suicide etiology (for example, social isolation; sleep problems) and risk identification (for example, risk algorithms from electronic medical records) to implementing practical and scalable interventions in a variety of settings, including health care, education, and criminal justice systems that serve at-risk populations.
Brief Suicide Prevention Interventions in Acute Care Settings May Reduce Subsequent Suicide AttemptsSeptember 16, 2020
National Institute of Mental Health
Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, and rates of suicide have been rising in each of the last 15 years. Research has shown that more than one-third of people who die by suicide had a health care encounter in the week before their death, and half within a month before their death. Because of this, health care organizations are well positioned to provide suicide prevention interventions during patient visits. However, clinical teams require evidence-based interventions to address suicide risk directly and ensure that patients transition to ongoing mental health care.
In a research project led by Stephanie K. Doupnik, M.D., and supported by the National Institute of Mental Health, researchers conducted a systematic review of studies (called a meta-analysis) on clinical trials of brief suicide prevention interventions to determine how effective these interventions might be in acute care settings, such as hospitals, emergency departments, and urgent care centers. Their findings were published in JAMA Psychiatry.
The team included 14 studies in the meta-analysis, representing a total of 4,270 patients. The three primary outcomes they examined were: subsequent suicide attempts, linkage to follow-up care, and depression symptoms at follow-up.
The included studies evaluated brief suicide prevention interventions to promote ongoing mental health care and reduce subsequent suicide attempts. The researchers identified studies that included four main components in their interventions: brief contact interventions, care coordination, safety planning interventions, and other brief therapies.
An important future research direction, the researchers wrote, is to identify and test implementation strategies for brief suicide prevention interventions in acute care settings. To do this, the authors suggest that health care settings need robust systems to identify patients with suicide risk, and that clinical teams require access to mental health professionals with skills and expertise to provide brief interventions. They also suggested future research could investigate implementing these kinds of interventions in acute care settings outside of traditional health care, like jails and crisis homeless shelters.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (NIMH-National Institute of Mental Health)OverviewPost-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event.
It is natural to feel afraid during and after a traumatic situation. Fear triggers many split-second changes in the body to help defend against danger or to avoid it. This “fight-or-flight” response is a typical reaction meant to protect a person from harm. Nearly everyone will experience a range of reactions after trauma, yet most people recover from initial symptoms naturally. Those who continue to experience problems may be diagnosed with PTSD. People who have PTSD may feel stressed or frightened, even when they are not in danger.
Signs and SymptomsWhile most but not all traumatized people experience short term symptoms, the majority do not develop ongoing (chronic) PTSD. Not everyone with PTSD has been through a dangerous event. Some experiences, like the sudden, unexpected death of a loved one, can also cause PTSD. Symptoms usually begin early, within 3 months of the traumatic incident, but sometimes they begin years afterward. Symptoms must last more than a month and be severe enough to interfere with relationships or work to be considered PTSD. The course of the illness varies. Some people recover within 6 months, while others have symptoms that last much longer. In some people, the condition becomes chronic.
A doctor who has experience helping people with mental illnesses, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist, can diagnose PTSD.
To be diagnosed with PTSD, an adult must have all of the following for at least 1 month:
Avoidance symptoms include:
Arousal and reactivity symptoms include:
Cognition and mood symptoms include:
It is natural to have some of these symptoms for a few weeks after a dangerous event. When the symptoms last more than a month, seriously affect one’s ability to function, and are not due to substance use, medical illness, or anything except the event itself, they might be PTSD. Some people with PTSD don’t show any symptoms for weeks or months. PTSD is often accompanied by depression, substance abuse, or one or more of the other anxiety disorders.
Do children react differently than adults?Children and teens can have extreme reactions to trauma, but some of their symptoms may not be the same as adults. Symptoms sometimes seen in very young children (less than 6 years old), these symptoms can include:
Risk FactorsAnyone can develop PTSD at any age. This includes war veterans, children, and people who have been through a physical or sexual assault, abuse, accident, disaster, or other serious events. According to the National Center for PTSD, about 7 or 8 out of every 100 people will experience PTSD at some point in their lives. Women are more likely to develop PTSD than men, and genes may make some people more likely to develop PTSD than others.
Not everyone with PTSD has been through a dangerous event. Some people develop PTSD after a friend or family member experiences danger or harm. The sudden, unexpected death of a loved one can also lead to PTSD.
Why do some people develop PTSD and other people do not?It is important to remember that not everyone who lives through a dangerous event develops PTSD. In fact, most people will not develop the disorder.
Many factors play a part in whether a person will develop PTSD. Some examples are listed below. Risk factors make a person more likely to develop PTSD. Other factors, called resilience factors, can help reduce the risk of the disorder.
Some factors that increase risk for PTSD include:
Treatments and TherapiesThe main treatments for people with PTSD are medications, psychotherapy (“talk” therapy), or both. Everyone is different, and PTSD affects people differently, so a treatment that works for one person may not work for another. It is important for anyone with PTSD to be treated by a mental health provider who is experienced with PTSD. Some people with PTSD may need to try different treatments to find what works for their symptoms.
If someone with PTSD is going through an ongoing trauma, such as being in an abusive relationship, both of the problems need to be addressed. Other ongoing problems can include panic disorder, depression, substance abuse, and feeling suicidal.
MedicationsThe most studied type of medication for treating PTSD are antidepressants, which may help control PTSD symptoms such as sadness, worry, anger, and feeling numb inside. Other medications may be helpful for treating specific PTSD symptoms, such as sleep problems and nightmares.
Doctors and patients can work together to find the best medication or medication combination, as well as the right dose. Check the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website for the latest information on patient medication guides, warnings, or newly approved medications.
PsychotherapyPsychotherapy (sometimes called “talk therapy”) involves talking with a mental health professional to treat a mental illness. Psychotherapy can occur one-on-one or in a group. Talk therapy treatment for PTSD usually lasts 6 to 12 weeks, but it can last longer. Research shows that support from family and friends can be an important part of recovery.
Many types of psychotherapy can help people with PTSD. Some types target the symptoms of PTSD directly. Other therapies focus on social, family, or job-related problems. The doctor or therapist may combine different therapies depending on each person’s needs.
Effective psychotherapies tend to emphasize a few key components, including education about symptoms, teaching skills to help identify the triggers of symptoms, and skills to manage the symptoms. One helpful form of therapy is called cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT. CBT can include:
How Talk Therapies Help People Overcome PTSD
Talk therapies teach people helpful ways to react to the frightening events that trigger their PTSD symptoms. Based on this general goal, different types of therapy may:
To help yourself while in treatment:
Next Steps for PTSD ResearchIn the last decade, progress in research on the mental and biological foundations of PTSD has lead scientists to focus on better understanding the underlying causes of why people experience a range of reactions to trauma.
NAMI is a Trusted leader in Mental Health issues. This article may help you or a loved one to get the help they need.
Trying to tell the difference between what expected behaviors are and what might be the signs of a mental illness isn't always easy. There's no easy test that can let someone know if there is mental illness or if actions and thoughts might be typical behaviors of a person or the result of a physical illness.
Each illness has its own symptoms, but common signs of mental illness in adults and adolescents can include the following:
Reach out to your health insurance, primary care doctor or state/county mental health authority for more resources.
Contact the NAMI HelpLine to find out what services and supports are available in your community.
If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org to reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.
Receiving A DiagnosisKnowing warning signs can help let you know if you need to speak to a professional. For many people, getting an accurate diagnosis is the first step in a treatment plan.
Unlike diabetes or cancer, there is no medical test that can accurately diagnose mental illness. A mental health professional will use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association, to assess symptoms and make a diagnosis. The manual lists criteria including feelings and behaviors and time limits in order to be officially classified as a mental health condition.
After diagnosis, a health care provider can help develop a treatment plan that could include medication, therapy or other lifestyle changes.
Finding TreatmentGetting a diagnosis is just the first step; knowing your own preferences and goals is also important. Treatments for mental illness vary by diagnosis and by person. There’s no “one size fits all” treatment. Treatment options can include medication, counseling (therapy), social support and education.