New Behavioral Health Resources Available for First Responders

In a recent national survey of firefighters and emergency medical services (EMS) personnel, 19 percent reported having had thoughts of suicide, 27 percent reported having struggled with substance use issues, and 81 percent said they feared being seen as weak or unfit for duty if they asked for help. 

Law enforcement, fire and rescue, and emergency response are professions where communication is mission critical—so why aren’t first responders talking more about their behavioral health? 

SAMHSA has developed new resources and materials with significant input from first responders. 

New Online Training Course

Service to Self: Behavioral Health for Fire and EMS Personnel

This new, online training course includes videos featuring emergency medical technicians and fire personnel, scenarios, and interactive quizzes. The course addresses occupational stressors; mental health and substance use issues including depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, suicidality, and alcohol use; resilience; and healthy coping mechanisms including demonstrations of stress management techniques. It is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Pre-Hospital Continuing Education (CAPCE) for continuing education credit.

Learn more about all of SAMHSA's training courses for first responders.

Each of these courses is free and can be accessed online individually or reviewed and discussed in a group setting to foster dialogue. Beyond videos, the courses contain interactive features and assessment tools.

Released by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).