NWCG video about firefighter mental health

3:11 p.m. MDT Sept. 29, 2021

Firefighters crew
Still image from the NWCG video below.

The National Wildfire Coordinating Group has published a video for firefighters about about mental health. It features several former or current firefighters who have been trained as critical incident stress management peer supporters or CISM Clinicians.

@DOIWildlandFire tweeted about the video today, encouraging everyone to view it. The video was posted July 19, 2021 but as of today it has only been viewed 83 times, perhaps because it is “unlisted”.  We suggested to them that the status be changed, which should make it possible to search for it and also show up on lists of NWCG videos.

The presenters make an interesting point comparing physical fitness and mental fitness. As a firefighter you have to work at both of them, and they lay out several ways to stay mentally fit.

If you are a firefighter or the spouse or family member of one, spend 18 minutes watching this video.

UPDATE at 1:30 p.m. MDT Sept. 30, 2021: As you can see above, the video uploaded July 19, 2021 is no longer available.

At 11:56 a.m. MDT today @DOIWildlandFire posted on Twitter, “Earlier, we accidentally published a @NWCG video on supporting mental health for wildland firefighters before the video was finalized. The post has been deleted. We look forward to sharing the completed video with you soon.”

The version of the video that had been online for more than two months was excellent, and could help thousands of emergency management personnel. We hope that the NWCG can finalize it and make it available. Firefighters need this. It is a slap in the face to advertise it, then remove it. That is not the kind of setback a person suffering from mental health issues needs.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

6 thoughts on “NWCG video about firefighter mental health”

  1. As of 0956 central time on the 30th of September this video is unavailable or has been removed by the creator…. apparently NWCG didn’t like the advise to publish it for us.

    I have been in the dark path and within hours of completing suicide on three different occasions because of the stressors of the job with the USFS.

    I am happy to not be in that position anymore and have found the balance that my life needed to come out of that deep and dark place that I thought I would never escape from.

    1. Thanks for letting us know, Forestry Technician. We updated the article today to reflect that @DOIWildlandFire said the video was pulled today because it was not finished.

      Glad you’re doing better.

      Let’s be careful out there.

  2. This NWCG publication should have mandatory inclusion with all refreshers and critical training, and as Just Me suggested present it to a wider audience.
    Ken Kerr, so sorry for your loss and truly thank you for sharing.
    It’s getting to the point where just maybe the majority of us now know someone who has taken their own lives, it’s heart breaking.
    This is a great step in the right direction, however more needs to be done with our line leadership, give them the tools they need to help their folks.
    I was a Supt on a shot crew for many years and I could recognize the signs of stress, however I did not have many tools in the old tool box. Shot crews do a fairly decent job of processing day to day stress, it’s an internal thing, the cumulative effects of stress, that a much different story, I never had an answer for that one.
    Thank Bill for posting this, it’s a very Big Deal…..Peace….

  3. This should be a part of the annual fire refresher sessions at least. Better yet, a part of a district/forest safety session!

  4. Thanks for posting this very important story Bill and link to associated video. Hopefully more interest, awareness, and acceptance of this topic in relationship to helping our family of Fire folk survive this will occur because of these videos and efforts of the fine folks that have been snd are doing the CISM work.
    My daughter, 8 years into being a Wildland firefighter and fire dispatcher, took her own life in 2018. I didn’t recognize the signs. Didn’t think that someone like her could possibly do something like this.
    Keep up the good work in this area. Thanks to all who are.

    1. Really sorry, Ken, to hear about the loss of your daughter. I was not aware.

      You are right, more awareness could be helpful for the problems that may be more widespread than anyone knows.


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