FBHA: Takin’ It to the Streets
Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance (FBHA) has been traveling across the U.S. and Canada for over seven years. We have met thousands upon thousands of EMS and firefighter brothers and sisters. We have validated over 1,180 EMS and firefighter suicides. The one thing we kept on seeing was there was no discrimination in the data. Completed suicides didn’t care if you were EMS or fire, male or female, career, volunteer, ages, ranks, city, suburban or rural.
So for 2019 FBHA decided to make a drastic decision both personally and professionally. We, my wife and I, bought a truck and camper so we could take FBHA to the streets. Our theme of “Takin’ it to the streets will launch on January 14, 2019. We will be driving approximately 16,000 miles in 2019 to help educate our brothers and sister about behavioral health, PTSD and suicide awareness.
Hopefully you will visit our webpage and see the map that shows our current path for the first quarter. We will then head north for a ways and then cut across the heart of America. Organizations have been scheduling workshops in the zones that we will be in.
In our travels one issue we educate on is the PTSD aspect of the job for EMS and firefighters. As a licensed counselor I want my brothers and sisters to understand what PTSD is. So many have been effected and untold numbers struggle daily yet afraid to seek help or possibly be diagnosed with PTS, PTSD, PTSI (Post-Traumatic Stress Injury) because of fear of being put off the job, which is a real factor.
In the past year seven firefighters have contacted FBHA and stated they were fired once diagnosed with PTSD. This needs to change! I know dozens and dozens of EMS and firefighters who still work despite their diagnosis. The key factor is to seek help and treatment early on. If you want to do some self-research then go to the Diagnostic Statistics Manuel 5 (DSM-5) (https://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/ptsd-overview/dsm5_criteria_ptsd.asp) and look at the criteria for possibly being diagnosis with PTSD.
Please remember, just because you might match some criteria it does not mean you have PTSD. Only a qualified doctor or counselor can make a qualified diagnosis.
Let’s not be afraid but seek knowledge and help if we are struggling with any issues like addictions, sleep deprivation, relationships, depression or PTSD. Please listen to others because they see us better then we see ourselves.
There is help out there! Please call or use your local resources. If you need help then contact us at [email protected]. We will find you qualified counselors.
Stay safe and hopefully we will see you while FBHA is “Takin’ it to the Streets!”
In 2011, Jeff Dill founded Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance (FBHA). This organization is a 501 (3) (C). www.ffbha.org
.Jeff Dill travels the United States and Canada holding workshops to teach firefighters and EMS about behavioral health awareness and suicide prevention. FBHA is the only known organization that collects and validates data on firefighter and EMT suicides across the United States. In addition, FBHA holds classes for counselors/chaplains, family members and preparing for retirement. He holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling from Argosy University (IL), a Licensed Professional Counselor, and a retired captain at Palatine Rural Fire Protection District in Inverness, Illinois.
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