The Mental Health Subcommittee (MHSC) provides national leadership in wildland firefighter mental health and wellness. The MHSC promotes and facilitates a national interagency approach to proactively identifying and addressing firefighter mental health.
- Develop NWCG guidance that enables firefighters and fire managers to recognize hazards to mental health and wellness and take effective prevention and mitigation actions.
- Standardize processes for collecting and analyzing data on wildland firefighter mental health and wellness.
- Use this data to inform development of NWCG wildland firefighter mental health and wellness guidance.
- Provide a forum for all firefighters and managers to increase their knowledge of wildland firefighter mental health issues and contribute to improvements in this area.
This year, to support National Suicide Prevention Week, the NWCG Mental Health Subcommittee has developed daily messaging to highlight hope, resiliency, and recovery. Print and post these messages daily in visible places to encourage open dialogue about mental health and wellness.
The more we openly discuss mental health, just as easily as we discuss physical health and fitness, the easier it becomes to eliminate the stigma. Stigma exists when negative attitudes or beliefs are directed at those with mental health issues, this atmosphere can make individuals unwilling to seek help even at the most basic levels. Not seeking help when needed and not being able to talk openly about mental health contribute to the high suicide rate we experience in this country. While we cannot eliminate suicide, we can make it easier to support those in need and to help each other find the best versions of ourselves. By recognizing the signs in ourselves and others, by learning how to support each other or find the help we need, we can greatly reduce the number of suicides each year.
From 1999-2018, the suicide rate increased by 35% according to studies done by the CDC (CDC Statistics). Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death for all ages in the United States and is a major contributor to premature mortality. We can change these statistics by removing the stigma around mental health, building a network of resources, and learning techniques to help us develop resiliency. Together we can change this story and strengthen our culture, leading to happier and healthier work environments.
Please join the NWCG Mental Health Subcommittee and our agency partners in being a part of the change! By sharing these flyers with even one person or by posting them around the office, you could play a role in saving lives. Please be a part of the change. One life saved is a gift to us all.
COVID and Mental Health Resources
- Coping During Times of Uncertainty
- COVID and Managing Your Mental Health
- Fear, Isolation, Depression: The Mental Health Fallout of a Worldwide Pandemic
- Coping With Stress
- Mental Health And COVID-19 – Information And Resources
- Protecting your mental health during the coronavirus pandemic
- COVID-19 resources for fire and EMS (FEMA)