10 Dec “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”…Or Is It? Posted at 15:28h in Benefits, Health and Safety, Recruitment, Recruitment and Retention, Retirement by Patti Graham 0 Comments 0 Likes Do you know the song “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”? Andy Williams is who I most remember singing this. The song talks about the fun times of the Christmas season. I want to take a few minutes and compare parts of this song with the realities for some of us during this time of year. It’s the most wonderful time of the year With the kids jingle belling And everyone telling you be of good cheer It’s the most wonderful time of the year It’s the hap-happiest season of all With those holiday greetings and gay happy meetings When friends come to call It’s the hap-happiest season of all There’ll be parties for hosting Marshmallows for toasting And caroling out in the snow There’ll be scary ghost stories And tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago Is everyone telling you to be of good cheer, doesn’t always make you be of good cheer, does it? When we are suffering from a death of a family member or fellow firefighter, have a sick family member or we are sick ourselves it is much harder to be of good cheer. How often do we get grumpy because of increased traffic, cold weather, impatient shoppers; I can name more, can you? Many of us are struggling with the consequences of our work; sometimes it’s hard to “be of good cheer”, or those incidents that haunt us at night, not just those we hear around the holidays. Frankly, it takes most of our energy just to get out of bed and make it through the shift some days, which makes us much less excited about enjoying this time of year. For some it is a continued loneliness, being separated from family and friends that we want to be with. Wanting to shower loved ones with all the gifts they desire, while still having financial problems and having a hard-enough time paying bills every month, much less have extra for gifts, special meals and travel. According to Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance http://www.ffbha.org 82 suicides of firefighters and EMTs have been reported in 2018 nationally and 2017 saw 111 Total suicides reported for the same groups. In South Carolina one occurred in South Carolina as of November 31st, one in 2017 and two in 2016. If you know of someone who is or if you are having troubles, depression and not able to enjoy this time of year because of them, there is help available for first responders and their families. SC First Responders Assistance and Support Team members are available. To find additional information visit: https://scfirefighters.org/FAST/ There are several other places to find help as well: The First Step Towards A Happier And Healthier Life Resources to help firefighters through common occupational stressors pocketpeer.org/#top https://www.nvfc.org/programs/share-the-load-program/ Fire/EMS Helpline: 1-888-731-FIRE (3473) What to Expect When You Call The first step in getting help is to make the call. Simply call 1-888-731-FIRE (3473) 24 hours a day. Calls are free and confidential. A skilled, trained Intake counselor will answer your call. Make sure you identify yourself as a Firefighter, EMT, or family member of the fire service. The intake counselor will listen to your problems and concerns and identify local resources in your area, or when appropriate, locate national treatment options that work within your needs and insurance capabilities. The licensed counselors at American Addition Centers treatment facilities have undergone intensive training specifically on the culture and needs of the fire service. Suicide Prevention Resource Center www.sprc.org/settings/first-responders 1 (800) 273 TALK (8255) Even if this isn’t “…the Most Wonderful Time Of The Year” for you, please take care of yourself and reach out to get help or give help to someone you know. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!