Share the Load™ Support Program for Fire and EMS
Most people are aware of the physical demands that first response activities place on firefighters and EMS providers. But it is important to also realize the impact that fighting fires and responding to emergencies has on the mental wellbeing of emergency personnel. Firefighters and EMS providers face the risk of many behavioral health concerns such as anxiety, depression, burnout, post-traumatic stress disorder, and addiction among others.
Taking care of your mental health is as important as managing your physical health. The NVFC’s Share the Load™ program provides access to critical resources and information to help first responders and their families manage and overcome personal and work-related problems. This includes the Directory of Behavioral Health Professionals as a resource to find local assistance for behavioral health issues.
The resources in this section can assist individuals seeking help for a behavioral health issue as well as departments looking to implement or enhance a behavioral health program.
Note: If you need immediate support with a suicidal, mental health, and/or substance use crisis, call the NVFC First Responder Helpline or call 988 for the national Suicide and Crisis Lifeline (or go to the web site for chat). In addition, SAMHSA’s National Helpline is available at 1-800-662-HELP (4357), and the Crisis Text Line is available by texting HOME to 741741.
- The NVFC First Responder Helpline, offered through Provident, provides assistance to NVFC members and their families for a variety of behavioral health issues and work-life stresses.
- The Directory of Behavioral Health Professionals lists local providers who are equipped and ready to help firefighters, EMS providers, rescue workers, dispatchers, and their families.
- The Psychologically Healthy Fire Departments: Implementation Toolkit helps fire department leaders promote and foster well-being among their members and create successful, high-performing departments. A supplemental training is also available in the NVFC Virtual Classroom.
- Share the Load™ Resources include the family guide, suicide prevention report, and training.
- Share the Load Videos feature warning signs to watch for and how to talk to someone who needs help.
- Additional fire service and EMS behavioral health resources include organizations, helplines, reports, courses, and webinars.
- View articles and news on behavioral health topics.
Heroes Health App
The UNC School of Medicine has released a free app that enables first responders and healthcare workers to track their mental well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic and easily access mental health resources. Sign up as an individual or as a department.
National Fire Service Suicide Reporting System
We tragically lose dozens of firefighters and EMTs each year to suicide. The Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance is the nationally recognized reporting system for collecting data about firefighter suicide. The reporting system is confidential and the data is used to identify trends and prevent future instances of firefighter and EMT suicide. To report a suicide, go to www.ffbha.org and click on “FF Suicide Report” in the left menu.