Suicide and the EMS Provider

Screenshot 2015-05-14 13.59.34The EMS Week slogan is “EMS Strong.” It is a nice concept and represents the important role of EMS in public safety. It also creates an image of the EMS provider as strong and dependable.

But what happens when we don’t feel strong?

Suicide in EMS providers has been in the news quite a bit recently. It is the intent of this newsletter to celebrate the EMS provider and say that you don’t always need to be strong. There are times everyone needs help.

The CDC says that risk factors for suicide include:

  • A feeling of hopelessness
  • Isolation
  • Loss (relationships, social, work or financial)
  • History of alcohol or substance abuse
  • Previous suicide attempts
  • Unwillingness to seek help because of stigma attached to mental health and/or substance abuse disorders
  • Impulsive or aggressive tendencies

More can be found at: http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/suicide/riskprotectivefactors.html

So what can you do as a friend of co-worker? The CDC says many things can serve as protective factors for suicide. Two of those are providing a sense of connectedness and making access to effective mental health resources possible without stigma.

The Code Green campaign (http://codegreencampaign.org) was started to help prevent EMS suicides and bring awareness to the fact that even those of us who seem “EMS Strong” may have a time in our lives or careers when we need help. Please stop by the Code Green site for more information.

Never forget that the simple act of being there for someone may be the difference between life and death. Be that person. Be there for a colleague.