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May is Mental Health Month

May is Mental Health Month

Tuesday, 03 May 2011

Every job comes with stressors, and some stress is healthy to keep you motivated. However, firefighting can take stress to a whole new level. Each time a call comes through, you have to drop everything and give it your best for those who depend on you. Taking care of your mental health is as important as managing your physical health. Mental Health Month, held each May to bring awareness to mental health challenges and solutions, is an opportunity to focus on your department’s mental and behavioral health outreach.

The effects of long-term stress can damage the human body. Individuals who do not manage stress can increase the potential for illness and major health concerns, including heart disease, obesity, sleep problems, and depression, among others. Work to foster positive behavioral health practices in your department and create a culture open to helping members receive the treatment and support they need for mental health issues.

Supporting the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of all personnel is one of the National Volunteer Fire Council’s (NVFC) Health and Safety Priorities. The NVFC strongly encourages departments to adopt this and all of the B.E.S.T. practices to keep their members healthy and safe. Learn more at www.nvfc.org/health_safety.

Find information, tools, and resources for behavioral health in the 2010 National Firefighter Health Week Resource Center.