IAFF Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Treatment and Recovery to Open March 5
The IAFF has a strong history of being the leader in the fire service for advocating for the health and safety of our members. We have made it a priority to raise awareness of behavioral health issues, reduce the stigma associated with asking for help and provide the necessary support and access to resources to assist our members struggling with addiction and co-occurring post-traumatic stress disorder. However, no facility that provides specialized treatment exclusively to our members from professionals who understand the culture and unique pressures of the job has existed – until now.
The Grand Opening of the new IAFF Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Treatment and Recovery in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, is Sunday, March 5.
Our members respond to any number of tragic events, and post-traumatic stress is a natural response to the accumulation of what they experience on a daily basis. Left unaddressed, this acute stress reaction may lead to substance abuse and can develop into Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – a potentially disabling condition that can impact one in five fire fighters at some point in their career. A host of additional behavioral health issues can also emerge, including anxiety, depression and even suicide. Unfortunately, the stigma associated with behavioral health is the number-one obstacle to seeking help.
We have partnered with Advanced Recovery Systems (ARS) – a leader in behavioral healthcare management and addiction treatment – to build our new IAFF Center of Excellence.
Designed with fire fighters in mind, the Center’s surroundings, facility and furnishings reflect the familiar look of the firehouse. The new, first-of-its-kind facility will provide our members the specialized treatment they need to address substance abuse and co-occurring disorders, such as PTSD and depression, from medical professionals who understand the fire service culture and the unique pressures of the job; support research on and educate peer support members and mental health professionals on best practices; and will help develop needed protocols for fire departments to handle these complex mental health issues.
Understanding the behavioral and physical effects of the job is critical to keeping our members safe so they can continue to keep our communities safe. Our mission at the Center of Excellence is to offer treatment for successful recovery and help IAFF members return to the job.
“We are tremendously proud of what we have been able to build for our members and the kind of quality care we are now providing to our members who need help,” says General President Harold Schaitberger.
For more information about the IAFF Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Treatment and Recovery, visit IAFFRecoveryCenter.com. You can also download the FAQs and flyer for posting in your firehouses and infographics to use on your web site and social media.