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Campaign aims to reduce stigma around mental health in Michigan based fire departments

Pixabay | CC BY 2.0

"Yellow Rose" launched after data reveals suicide is the number one cause of death for firefighters

Muskegon County firefighters are taking part in a new mental health campaign encouraging first responders to seek help.

Branded as the Yellow Rose campaign, officials say the goal is to eliminate the mental health stigma in Michigan’s local fire departments. First responders encounter trauma on a regular basis.

According to the Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance, suicide is the number one cause of death for firefighters, who are more likely to perish from a self-inflicting wound than they are from the dangers of the job.

The Yellow Rose campaign hopes to change that; and let firefighters who are struggling with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder know they are not alone.

Dalton Township Fire Chief Alan Styles:

“We are the first to see people in horrific car crashes, burned-out buildings with people inside, horrific things. It stays with you and keeps you up at night, despite wishing your brain could forget what your eyes have seen.”

Meanwhile, several Muskegon County fire stations are hoping to bring awareness to the problem by wearing ‘The Yellow Rose’ t-shirts throughout the month of September.