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Division Of Wellness Safety & Training

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Behavioral Health Component of the Wellness-Fitness Initiative

A joint labor-management project of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service and IAFF Local 1664

Fire.CISM@montgomerycountymd.gov

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- Potential Risk Factors -

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 - Coping Styles Used By Those Grieving -

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  • Remaining silent
     
  • Engaging in solitary mourning ("secret grief")
     
  • Taking physical or legal action
     
  • Becoming immersed in activity
     
  • Exhibiting addictive behavior

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 - Warning Signs of Suicide -

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  1. Talks or writes notes or jokes about suicide
     
  2. Talks about wanting to die or wanting to go away
     
  3. Has made previous suicide attempt
     
  4. Has sudden changes in behavior: withdrawal, moodiness, recklessness, changes in sleeping or eating habits
     
  5. Appears to be depressed: cries easily, has feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
     
  6. Gives away personal things (HIGH RISK)
     
  7. Abuses drugs or alcohol
     
  8. Has sudden improvement (may signal resolution of the conflict; this may be because the person has made the decision to die)

  • Ask the question, "Has it been so bad that you’ve thought of killing yourself?
     
  • Listen to your friend
     
  • Talk about feelings of suicide
     
  • Tell your friend that you care and you want to help
     
  • Stay with your friend
     
  • Don’t ignore your friend
     
  • Don’t wait to get help
     
  • Don’t pretend the issue will just go away

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- Distorted Thinking Styles -

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(Adapted from The National P.O.L.I.C.E. Suicide Foundation, Inc.)

Distorted thinking heightens stress, hinders the healing process, and contributes to suicidal feelings. Here are thirteen common styles of distorted thinking.

  1. Mental filtering
    • You take the negative details and magnify them while filtering out all positive aspects of a situation.
       
  2. All or nothing thinking
    • Things are black and white, or good and bad. You have to be perfect, or you’re a failure. There is no middle ground.
       
  3. Over generalization
    • You come to a general conclusion based on a single incident or piece of evidence. If something bad happens once, you expect it to happen over and over again.
       
  4. Mind reading
    1. Without one saying so, you know what people are feeling and why they act the way they do. You define how people feel about you.
       
  5. Catastrophizing
    • You expect disaster. You notice or hear about a problem and start multiplying "what ifs?".
       
  6. Personalization
    • You think that everything people do or say is some kind of reaction to you. You compare yourself to others, trying to determine who’s better, smarter, more successful, etc.
       
  7. Control fantasies
    • If you feel externally controlled, you see yourself as helpless, a victim of fate. The fallacy of internal control has you responsible for the pain and happiness of everyone around you.
       
  8. Fallacy of fairness
    • You feel resentful because you think you know what is fair, but other people won’t agree with you.
       
  9. Blaming
    • You hold other people responsible for your pain or you blame yourself for everything.
       
  10. Shoulds
    • You have a list of ironclad rules about how you and other people should act. You get mad if others break the rules, or feel guilty if you do.
       
  11. Emotional reasoning
    • You believe that what you feel must be true automatically; if you feel stupid and boring, then you must be stupid and boring.
       
  12. Labeling/Mislabeling
    • You generalize one or two qualities into a negative global judgement.
       
  13. Disqualifying the positive
    • You reject experiences by insisting they don’t count for one reason or another. This enables you to maintain a negative belief that is contradicted by your everyday experiences.

 

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- Steps Which May Progress To Suicide -

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(Adapted from The National P.O.L.I.C.E. Suicide Foundation, Inc.)

  1. "Idealistic" graduate - rookie firefighter
     
  2. Frequently exposed to danger, murder, trauma, etc.
     
  3. Keeps emotions to self – doesn’t want to burden or worry spouse or family; doesn’t want peers to think he can’t handle his emotions.
     
  4. Starts drinking with peers after work to unwind
     
  5. Becomes cynical; has mistrust for anyone outside of profession
     
  6. Doesn’t trust admiration; deals with internal stressors and political pressure
     
  7. Tries to maintain "macho" image; doesn’t feel he can share problems with fellow firefighters because they might think he is "weak"
     
  8. Drinking increase; pressure mounts; job performance begins to drop off
     
  9. Problems with relationship; marital problems lead to separation or divorce; long-term relationships begin to fall apart
     
  10. Commits suicide

 

 

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