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Home > Public Resources > Trauma Blog > 2020 - February > Student Perspectives Trauma Exposure as a Risk Factor for Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors among Fire

Student Perspectives Trauma Exposure as a Risk Factor for Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors among Firefighters

Booke Bartlett, MA

February 26, 2020

Editor’s Note: ISTSS participated in the development of the Vicarious Trauma Toolkit, a repository of tools and resources that law enforcement, emergency medical, fire and victim services organizations can use to address vicarious trauma in staff and volunteers

The alarming rates of suicide among military veterans have recently been widespread among the media. Would you believe it if you were told that firefighters experience similar rates of suicide in comparison to military veterans? In fact, according to recent research, firefighters report higher rates of suicidal thoughts, plans and attempts in comparison to both the general and military populations (Nock et al., 2008, 2014; Stanley et al., 2015)! Recent data collected from a sample of more than 100 career firefighters from an urban fire department located in the southern United States indicated that nearly 20% reported having thoughts about harming or killing themselves in the past year, and that nearly 10% met criteria for being at high risk for suicide.

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