The Final Call: Why Firefighters Commit Suicide – Fault Lines

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Published on 24th February 2016 by Al Jazeera Faultlines

Suicide rates are on the increase among firefighters in the United States.

They are three times more likely to die by suicide than in line of duty, according to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF), an organisation chartered by Congress to honour and provide support to the families of firefighters killed on the job.

They routinely witness traumatic events as they are called to the scenes of mass shootings, homicides, suicides, road accidents, and instances of child abuse, among myriad other incidents.

While researching this story, Fault Lines spoke at length to Tim Casey, a former firefighter-paramedic who posted videos online about his traumatic memories and his struggle with trauma and depression.

Three weeks before we were set to interview Casey on camera, he killed himself.

What is behind the high number of first responder suicides in the US? And why isn’t more done to address depression and PTSD?

Through the story of Casey and other firefighters like him, Fault Lines investigates this hidden epidemic and asks who is ultimately responsible for addressing depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and suicide in America’s fire service.

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