Viral Facebook post leads to conversation of suicide prevention among first responders

CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - Over the past few weeks, suicide prevention has been making national headlines after high-profile celebrities Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain lost their battles to mental illness.

It was this post from the IAFF Savannah Firefighter's Facebook page that made them want to speak out about suicide prevention and make people aware of what first responders go through on a daily basis.

Bob Milie, with the association, said they have a peer support they are trying build to let first responders know that they can talk about issues and the things they see and experience daily.

Milie said they want first responders to know they can support each other when it comes to illnesses - such as depression - so that it doesn't lead to something as tragic as taking their own lives.

"The trend nowadays is our American professional firefighters are more likely to die because of suicide than they are with a line of duty death, with a wall falling down, or a fire or something like that and that's a cultural problem," Milie said.

According to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, more officers and firefighters died from suicide than the line of duty deaths in 2017.

"The Savannah region, the IAFF, the International Association of Firefighters is the only one with a peer support team trying to address the needs of our members, so we don't lose any more," Milie said.

Don't be afraid to talk about it. You're not the only one who is going through it. The National Suicide Prevention Line is a free, 24-hour service that can help. The number is 1-8000-273-8255.

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