Area first responds to receive new mental health training

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) – Area firefighters are getting some new training, not for their skills fighting fires, but for their mental health. It’s called “Peer Support Training.”

Firefighters need to be in top shape for their jobs. They run into burning buildings and keep each other safe while doing it. The aftermath of what they respond to can take a toll physically, and mentally.

“We focus on our physical health in this job, but we in the past haven’t really considered how important our mental health is,” said Henderson firefighter Shawn Crabtree.

The new peer support training is designed to give fire crews the basic understanding of common behavioral health issues that can affect the fire service, so they’re able to spot it and help each other.

“We’re really trying to take care of our own,” said Crabtree. “Our job is service oriented, we take care of the community, but this is more of a focus to take care of ourselves, so we can be advocates and help the members of the city as well.”

The training is from the International Association of Firefighters. They’ve made our area responders aware that there is help available to them.

“That’s kind of a focus for our department is to really understand the resources that are available, put together a booklet of brochures that if we see someone in need we can hand that to someone,” Crabtree said.

Crews say they’re excited to have more knowledge to be able to help each other a little better.

“We are a big family here, especially within our crews,” said Crabtree. “We know when someone’s having a bad day, but the difference of being able to weigh who’s having a bad day and who’s struggling and really going through something.”

This class was attended by the Henderson Fire Department, Henderson 911, Evansville Fire Department, Owensboro Fire Department and Henderson HR.

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