The Hidden Trauma of Firefighting

One study found that firefighters are more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty.

Aug 22 2018, 3:39pm

Image: US Air Force/Staff Sgt. David Owsianka

Firefighting is inherently a risky profession, but the job also can take a very serious toll on mental health. According to a recent study, firefighters are more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty, and the profession has been linked to high-risk behaviors like sleep deprivation and binge drinking.

“There’s a stigma,” Deputy Chief Mike Ming, who leads Cal Fire's employee support services, told VICE. “It comes from a history of a suck-it-up attitude, because that’s just what we do. We’re not awesome at tapping into emotions and we can store a whole career’s worth.”

Luckily, as awareness around these issues has increased, departments like Cal Fire have started to provide mental health services and interventions to their staff. On today's podcast, reporter Cole Kazdin talks about the perils of firefighting, and possible mental health solutions for the men and women who are ensuring our safety.

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