First Responders Addressing First Responders Mental Health and Suicide

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First Responders Addressing First Responders Mental Health & Suicide Prevention Webinar

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Suicide is the tenth-leading cause of death in the state of Tennessee. There were 1,159 suicides in Tennessee in the year 2018, find out how at the TSPN's website ( As of June 19, there have been 97 law enforcement suicides verified by Blue H.E.L.P. for 2019. An additional 46 fire/EMS suicides have been verified by the Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance. These numbers only reflect confirmed suicides. The current estimate is that fire/EMS suicides are being undercounted by as much as 60 percent.

We lose more First Responders to suicide than in line of duty. First Responders may be more likely than the general population to think about and attempt suicide. First responders are always at the forefront of each incident or disaster, and they ensure the safety and well-being of the population. They are, however, at great danger of being exposed to potentially traumatic situations that pose risk of harm to them or the people under their care. This constitutes a great risk for the behavioral health of first responders, putting them at risk for stress, PTSD, depression, substance use, and suicide ideation and attempts (SAMSHA). Sometimes the lifesavers need saving too.

A survey of more than 4,000 first responders found that 6.6 percent had attempted suicide, which is more than 10 times the rate in the general population, according to a 2015 article published in the Journal of Emergency Medical Services.

The Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network First Responder Task Force would like to help make a change in how address Mental Health & Suicide Prevention in our great State. October 28th serves as National First Responder Day. While many Americans will be participating in events across our Nation this day. TSPN and the First Responders Task Force don't want the conversation to end on 09/28/20..... Let's continue speaking up for our first responders & their families to reduce the stigma of suicide and encourage help seeking, to support families of first responders, and provide community connections of resources so that we lose no more to suicide. Let's break the silence together, we can!

The First Responder Task Force cordially invites you to join us on October 30, 2020 9a-11a CST as they host a FREE webinar.


Welcoming Remarks

Meet members serving on the First Responder Task Force. There will be a panel discussion addressing Mental Health & Suicide Prevention with Jason Abernathy, Northeast Lifeline Peer Project Coordinator as the moderator.

Doug Pardue, Nashville Fire Department/First Responder Task Force Chairman

Marie Curran, Nashville Fire Department/EMS

Lt. Daniel Jones, Chattanooga Police Department/Special Operations Commander

Tonya Cum, Knox County Dispatch

Janelle Edmonson, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner


Officer Mark DiBona, Blue H.E.L.P.

About Blue H.E.L.P.It is the mission of Blue H.E.L.P. to reduce mental health stigma through education, advocate for benefits for those suffering from post-traumatic stress, acknowledge the service and sacrifice of law enforcement officers we lost to suicide, assist officers in their search for healing, and to bring awareness to suicide and mental health issues.Our HistoryBlue H.E.L.P. began in 2015 after The Price They Pay was written by two of it’s founders; Karen Solomon and Jeffrey McGill. It became clear to Karen, Jeff and Steve Hough that suicide prevention and care for the families afterward was not offered in law enforcement; compassion and understanding took a backseat to stigma and shame. In 2017, they incorporated and received their 501(c)3 designation and are now the only organization in the country that collects law enforcement suicide data and regularly supports families in the aftermath.

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