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The members of this team have been trained to guide and support you through your situation. They themselves are not professional counselors.
They have been through extensive training to listen, refer, and support you through your mental health needs. Each peer team member can be contacted directly and anonymously.Find A Peer
If you suspect someone is contemplating suicide, don't hesitate to act.
According to the American Association of Suicidology, the following are signs and symptoms of suicide.
Although it is not necessary for all of these risk factors to be present for someone to commit suicide, they should be used to raise your index of suspicion.
Intervention starts by Knowing the signs and symptoms of suicide. Once you suspect someone may be contemplating suicide, it is important to know what questions to Ask and what actions to take.You can remember these actions through KNOW, ASK, LISTEN, CONNECT. DO NOT AT ANY TIME PUT YOURSELF IN DANGER. IF THE PERSON IN CRISIS HAS A WEAPON OR IS AN IMMEDIATE DANGER TO SELF AND/OR OTHERS, CALL 911 RIGHT AWAY.
Many people use drugs in order to escape physical and emotional discomfort. Some start using drugs to numb feelings of depression. Others self medicate to deal with stress coming from home. Short term use of sleeping pills to cope with sleep deprivation or taking prescription painkillers to relieve chronic pain can easily lead to long term dependence and abuse.
Alcoholism is when you have signs of physical addiction to alcohol and CANNOT control consumption, despite the fact that problems with physical health, mental health, relationships and responsibilities have suffered. Alcohol begins to or is controlling your life and relationships.
It is a term used to describe the interconnectedness between our emotions and our physical health.
When you are emotionally stressed or anxious, especially for a prolonged period of time, it often has a negative impact on your health. Numerous research studies have shown that stress can cause and/or worsen physical conditions such as:
Likewise, you may have experienced first hand how a physical injury, illness, or pain can impact your mood. If our bodies are "sick", we worry about a number of things including:
The good news is that there are several things we can do to improve our mental and physical health when it comes to these matters. Relaxation techniques always help.
First, if you're feeling stressed or anxious you can contact Phoenix Fire's Member Assistance Program (MAP), talk to your private physician or the doctors at the Health Center about it. Their job is to figure out if your physical symptoms are caused by stress factors.
If you want to hear more about how can work for you, follow this link to a podcast that explains the Mind-Body connection, and some strategies to calm your body and mind to prevent or eliminate physical symptoms. Autonomic Podcast
Next, the link below is to the American Psychological Association website that cites some fascinating research about the Mind-Body Connection. For instance, did you know:
• Stress is linked to the six leading causes of death - heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, and suicide. ("The Stress Solution: An Active Plan to Manage the Stress in Your Life," Lyle H. Miller, Ph.D. and Alma Dell Smith, Ph.D.)
• People with high levels of anxiety can have between two to seven times the risk of heart disease. ("Emotional Longevity: What Really Determines How Long You Live," Norman B. Anderson and Elizabeth P. Anderson, 2003)
• Two-thirds of all office visits to family physicians are due to stress-related symptoms (American Academy of Family Physicians)
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can occur after someone experiences a traumatic event that caused intense fear, helplessness, or horror. PTSD can result from personally experienced traumas (e.g., rape, war, natural disasters, abuse, serious accidents, and captivity) or from the witnessing or learning of a violent or tragic event.
Although the symptoms for individuals with PTSD can vary considerably, they generally fall into three categories:
It is important to note that those with PTSD often use alcohol or other drugs in an attempt to self-medicate. Individuals with this disorder may also be at an increased risk for suicide.
A few studies have also looked at what factors might put firefighters at greater risk for the development of PTSD. A number of risk factors for PTSD among firefighters have been identified. These include:
Ability to bounce back from setbacks is a common definition for one of the most important aspects of a firefighter's life and mental health resiliency!
Resiliency is so important to us all because no one is immune from stress, ranging from minor daily irritants to life-altering events.
A great deal of scientific research has shown that firefighters with better resiliency skills are more likely to:
Firefighters are no exception, and are considered a "high risk" occupation due to the nature of your work.
This predisposes you to significantly higher mental and physical challenges ranging from heart disease to depression and PTSD, families are affect too.
Tactical breathing is used to gain control over physical and psychological responses to stress. Through practice one can gain control over heart rate, oxygen intake and emotions to increase concentration in various situation. Please see the link below for more information.
PositivityRatio.com - Self Test PositivityRatio.com is Barbara Fredrickson's companion website for her new book Positivity.
As much as we like to think of ourselves as unbreakable, we break, and when we do it's usually hard and fast. If this feeling of being in crisis comes we may not feel comfortable to reach out for support. It's embedded in our DNA that we are firefighters and we are supposed to fix problems.
Our exposures to high stress calls and events have given us the ability to overcome our feelings and work through them. Over time we store up our issues until they may overflow into other parts of our life. Sure, we may use dark humor or sarcastic remarks to move past our own feelings and continue to do our jobs but what happens when the floor falls out from under us, and we or a friend needs help.
If we finally do decide to accept help we will need somebody we can trust. We will need to know what the help will look like. So if you or somebody you know is in crisis and you decide to ACCESS RESOURCES to get help. What can you expect to happen next?
'What will a crisis intervention look like?'
Each program is different, but all professional licensed counselors adhere to regulations when it comes to crisis intervention. Crisis Intervention should not be confused with traditional Therapy or Counseling. Crisis Intervention is used in acute situations to assist those who are in urgent need of help.
These four guidelines are reasons for a Crisis Intervention. It is after intervention and when the person is back to more stable that they would benefit from therapy or Counseling in hopes of creating a new healthy baseline.
A Crisis Specialist will ask a series of questions to identify relevant safety issues, and to assess if the person meets the criteria above. Some of these questions may seem intrusive when asked, but regulations dictate that the level of safety is assessed. Here are some sample questions to expect:Safety Assessment Questions
Click Suicide Assessment Five-Step Evaluation and Triage (SAFE-T) to receive a FREE digital copy of suicide assessment guidelines put out by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
We all need a plan for our money. Financial Peace University (FPU) can be that plan! It consists of weekly classes on how to foster ways of handling money. Through video teaching, class discussion and interactive small group activities, FPU presents practical steps to get from where you are to where you would like to be. This plan will show members how to get rid of debt, manage money, spend and save wisely, and much more.
To order your kit, go to http://www.daveramsey.com/fpu/home/?snid=classes.fpu-a For departments in Arizona, the 100 Club of Arizona has graciously offered Arizona members and their spouses an opportunity to purchase Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University Membership Kits at a discounted rate of $25. These kits are now available by contacting the 100 Club of Arizona at 602.485.0100
It is our hope that our members use the links below as an educational tool for the Financial Advisors that may come to the firehouse to ask for your business. You have worked really hard at saving for your retirement and it is important that you take an active interest in your savings account. Simple word of mouth referrals can be costly if you don't do your own investigation into the backgrounds of who you are working with. Just like you would check on a Doctor's or Psychologists license, there are FREE websites that will do an extensive background check of a Financial Advisor or Broker. Please take the time to enter their name and make an educated decision in the links below.
Click on this Link above for more info.
American Financial Solutions 1 (800) 892-4604 is a non-profit educational company that has qualified counselors available to talk with you on a wide range of financial issues and budgeting. They guarantee that you have access to the same counselor from beginning to end. All financial counseling is done over the phone because when dealing with debt solutions, it sometimes takes more than a few phone calls from home to be able to gather all the documents so that they can best assist you with your situation. This is all confidential and free. Some of the issues they can assist with are:
Credit card, medical bills and other forms of debt becoming unmanageable. Experiencing financial distress in the wake of a major illness or life event such as divorce or job loss. Threatened mortgage foreclosure. You can free yourself from the anxiety and stress of financial problems. Get free unbiased information and assistance through American Financial Solutions a nonprofit agency offering:
Taking action in the face of overwhelming financial worries can be hard. Getting advice, direction and encouragement from someone you trust can make all the difference. Talk to a Certified Credit Counselor for a confidential personalized consultation and address your most urgent concerns. Get the advice you can trust and set the goals that you can achieve.
Start your personal financial assessment with powerful financial tools to make strategic decisions about credit card debt, spending and debt management. Check out the following calculators:
Access free on-line financial education in the ?Investing in Yourself? curriculum:
Upon completion of the series you may submit a copy of your certification of completion to the three credit reporting agencies and request that they note it on your credit profile.
More severe symptoms that may need immediate treatment:
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown to significantly decrease anxiety.
Also Mindability (Road Map to Peace at Mind) can help you decrease and cope with the amount of anxiety and stress you carry. Please see the Mindability Tab for more information.
Anxiety may occur as part of an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are a group of psychiatric conditions that involve excessive anxiety. They include:
Every person needs a different amount of sleep to awaken feeling refreshed. Individual sleep requirements are genetic and may be hereditary. Scientists consider six to 10 hours of sleep a normal range, with most people requiring 7.5 to 8.5 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. At least four to five hours of uninterrupted core sleep is necessary to maintain minimum performance levels. Sleep requirements may change slightly with age and can be affected by general health. Illness, stress, and depression cause the body to require more sleep to heal and recuperate
Sleep deprivation occurs when a person does not get sufficient amounts of quality sleep. Work demands, family life, and lifestyle choices may cause a person to sleep fewer hours than his body needs to maintain wakefulness and energy levels. In the Fire Service most of us to Shift work and have to interrupt the body's natural wake/sleep cycle. Over time deprivation of sleep can have both an acute and cumulative effect on our bodies and minds.
In a study at the University of Chicago, rats kept from sleeping became sick and died after two and a half weeks. Sleep-deprived rats that became ill but were then allowed to sleep recuperated fully.
Sleep loss is cumulative and creates a sleep debt. Larger sleep debts require greater amounts of restorative sleep to return the body and mind to normal, rested levels. Sleep deprivation affects mental processes and intellectual abilities. It reduces performance on challenging tasks and negatively affects psychomotor skills. Mood, productivity, and communication skills suffer. Extended periods without sleep may cause hallucinations and paranoia.
Physical and mental performances are not the only casualties of sleep deprivation. Even a minimal loss of sleep impacts general health. Chronic lack of sleep can contribute to serious health problems and even shortened lifespan. In a 1983 study at the University of Chicago, rats kept from sleeping became sick and died after two and a half weeks. Sleep-deprived rats that became ill but were then allowed to sleep recuperated fully.
Lack of sleep may slow glucose metabolism by 30 to 40 percent and increase levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Sleep deprivation has also been linked to inadequate levels of the hormone leptin. Leptin signals the body to stop eating when it's full. Decreased levels of leptin lead to increased carbohydrate cravings and eating.
Other effects of chronic sleep deprivation include:
"Firefighters need to get an adequate amount of uninterrupted sleep every off-duty night"
Quality sleep is the primary weapon in the battle against sleep deprivation. Firefighters must take advantage of opportunities for sleep, both on and off duty. Sleeping areas at home and at the fire station should be quiet and dark, and the room temperature should be cool. A comfortable, good-quality mattress is a must. Invest in comfortable bedding and pillows as well. Good sleep habits are essential. Firefighters need to get an adequate amount of uninterrupted sleep every off-duty night. Going to sleep and waking up at the same times every day, even on weekends, is important for maintaining the body's natural rhythms.
Other tips for quality sleep include the following:
Avoid eating, reading, and watching TV in bed.
Restrict caffeine intake, and avoid caffeinated drinks at least six hours before bedtime.
Eat healthful foods. Do not eat large meals within four to five hours of sleeping.
Do not use alcohol to induce sleep. The effects of alcohol-induced drowsiness last only a few hours and cause poor-quality sleep.
Avoid long-term use of over-the-counter sleeping pills. Habitual use can reduce effectiveness and lead to addiction.
Reduce life stress as much as possible.
Use relaxation techniques to relieve stress and invite sleep.
Exercise, but not more than four hours before bedtime. For 24-hour shift workers, outdoor exercise during daylight hours can help the body maintain natural biological rhythms and increase sleep quality off-duty.
"Napping is an effective coping strategy"
Daytime sleep after a night shift is essential to staying well rested, but trying to sleep when the rest of the world is awake can be challenging at best. The shift worker must emphasize to friends and family the importance of restorative sleep. Go as far as having daytime sleep scheduled on the family calendar along with ballgames, school meetings, and other activities.
Napping is an effective coping strategy that can be used in anticipation of a long night or during extended operations. Naps as short as 20 minutes can be effective. Two-hour naps during around-the-clock operations are highly restorative.
Melatonin may help promote better sleep, particularly during the day. However, this supplement is not FDA-approved, and current research is contradictory on short-term and long-term effects.
People who are regularly unable to sleep should consult their physicians to rule out underlying health problems. Doctors may also be able to prescribe medication to help with sleep. Sleep disorders can be aggravated by shift work. Shift workers with diagnosed sleep disorders need to work closely with their physicians to effectively manage their disorder.
Koester, Robert J. Fatigue: Sleep Management During Disasters and Sustained Operations. DbS Productions, 1997.
Maas, Dr. James B. Power Sleep. HarperPerennial, 1998.
Moore-Ede, Martin, M.D., Ph.D. The Twenty-Four Hour Society. Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1993.
NIOSH.Publication 97-145. "Plain Language About Shiftwork." 1977
If you are approaching retirement age, there are a number of things you can do to prepare for an emotionally healthy retirement.
Achieving a successful retirement is a process that takes planning, time, and experimentation. Retirees who achieve emotional integration learn to know themselves and what will make the coming years satisfying. They are confident in their ability to cope, and they can appreciate the possibilities within themselves. Retirement can then become a passage to new opportunity and self-fulfillment.
Is Not About Money
It's About Play and Purpose
"The happiest retirees were more likely to answer by giving specific examples of rewarding or creative activities"
Research has found that, in addition to a happy marriage and a sense of purpose, the most important factor in a happy retirement was learning how to "play" again. The scientists define play as engaging in activities that are highly gratifying. These activities can lack any economic significance, and do not necessarily need to lead to praise or recognition from others. In other words, many of the factors that allow happiness in retirement appear to be quite different from those that assure a contented and economically secure middle age.The researchers found that happiness in retirement depended neither on being free from physical disability nor on having a large income. Instead, the answers to two questions were most important:
"What are your most enjoyable activities…
Men who found retirement satisfying were more than twice as likely to report enjoying relationships, volunteering, and having hobbies. The happiest men were more likely to answer by giving specific examples of rewarding or creative activities: "watching my grandchildren," "writing my memoirs" and "playing the piano" were typical responses.
what the researchers call "autistic activities" like "watching
"happy retirement involves taking the time to find activities that stimulate us"
television" or "gambling" or "caring for myself." For example, 43 percent of the happiest retirees said they found purpose in community service, while only 7 percent of those who found retirement unsatisfying did.
A lot of what one can do to assure a happy retirement involves taking the time to find activities that stimulate us, making us broader and deeper and more complex, and activities that involve others, and which in many cases the only obvious benefit is to others. It has a lot less to do with income.
From the American Journal of Psychiatry
"Some types of depression seem to run in families"
"Medicines that you take for other problems could cause or worsen depression"
"therapy teaches depressed people ways of fighting negative thoughts"
Most of us have some kind of idea in our minds about how a "good" or "correct" relationship is supposed to be. We can cause ourselves needless distress by comparing our own relationships with such an idea of what a relationship "should be like" and then concluding that our own is defective by comparison. Psychologists may imply something of that sort when they formulate criteria for a "healthy relationship" which few real couples ever meet. There is no right way of having a relationship, and no easy answer to maintaining a health one. However if you find yourself questioning yours, therapy can often help."A therapist will try to improve a couple\'s communication"
You may meet once a week, and sessions are 50 minutes in length. In a first session together, you will learn as much as possible about your marriage or relationship, including how you met, how you got to where you are now, and anything else you think is important.
A therapist will try to improve a couple's communication so that they can move from "gridlock" or an unhealthy communication pattern to healthy dialogue about key issues. In later sessions you may discuss things about handling conflict, rebuilding the friendship (if necessary), bringing romance back, and finally, discussing long-term goals and dreams
Yes, couple counseling works very well. In an article published in The Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, clients of 526 marriage counselors were surveyed, and 91.2% of the clients said they were satisfied with the amount of help they received.
"...couples counseling will help you illicit new changes you want in your relationship"
You and your partner have learned many things during your lives. And during your time together you have both grown and changed and the relationship has evolved. If you want to, you can also learn new ways of being with your partner, and there is an excellent chance that couples counseling will help you illicit new changes you want in your relationship.
If you think you might need counseling, you probably do! Marriage counseling is under-utilized. Marriage counselors should be consulted sooner, rather than later! Studies show that the average couple doesn't seek professional help until six to seven years have passed since the relationship started to go downhill. Starting early can help strengthen the relationship so that when trouble does occur you will have the tools to make the problem a small bump in the road rather than a mountain to climb.
That's unlikely! Up to 70% of couple conflict, even in stable couples, is about "perpetual" issues. One goal in dealing with perpetual problems is not to decide who gets their way and who doesn't, but instead to avoid gridlock and going back to the same old patterns of communication by establishing healthy dialogue about the issue, in which each partner communicates acceptance of the other's position.
"A fractured relationship can cause significant stress in an individual"
On average, therapy can take anywhere from 6 to 12 sessions. The first few sessions should be weekly, and after that sessions can be either weekly or bi-weekly. Couples are always free to come back on an "as needed" basis.
No, it's never too late. Marriage counselors agree that if both husband and wife are open to change and willing to do some work, love can be rekindled and a happy and satisfying marriage can be restored.
Marriage counselors will tell you that a fractured relationship can cause significant stress in an individual, and that stress can contribute to a variety of physical ailments that can have serious physical effects. Recent studies also show that when a fight begins with a "harsh startup" (referring to how the problem is initially presented by one partner to the other) adrenaline and cortisone levels rise significantly, just as they do in the "fight or flight" response. Repetition of this cycle can be physically draining.
Yes. When one partner makes some positive changes and shares what has been learned, the other partner frequently becomes motivated to make his/her own positive changes. Hopefully the reluctant partner then becomes willing to attend counseling.
No, infidelity doesn't have to mean the end of the marriage. Many couples have survived infidelity. It's traumatic, it hurts terribly, but you can get through it with professional help. Therapists have found that the crisis brought on by an unfaithful spouse is frequently the trigger for the couple to seek the counseling they have needed for a long time.
Acknowledgement for donating his time to help write this section:
Jay Slupesky, M.A., MFT
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist
Spirituality has a lot to do with how we understand the world around us. Our beliefs influence how we live and how we react to situations. A faith-based connection is often associated with better mental health and increased resiliency. It can provide excellent support to help you cope. The Chaplains on Firestrong come from diverse backgrounds of ministry, social work, education, and past experience. They have come to know the fire service and are willing to help make a difference in the lives of those who may need guidance during challenging times. You may find that you may want to reach out to others that hold a similar faith and belief. A Chaplain can be a great starting point to helping with interpreting individual faith-based views and helping problem solve various matters. Please look through the Chaplain section of this website. Read their individual bios and feel free to contact them directly and confidentially.