Share The Load Program:
Featuring Mark Lamplugh Jr. from 360 Wellness & The National Volunteer Council’s Share The Load program
As first responders, we face continual exposure to stress throughout our careers. It is well known that first responders have a higher rate of heart attacks, stress related disorders (PTSD, anxiety & depression, and other unhealthy coping mechanisms), and those that answer the call for help seldom make the call when they face down the ‘fires’ of their lives.
Firefighters and first responders often don’t call out for help due to a numerous reasons. Many of us have had the misfortune to lose a loved one or close friend to suicide. Sadly, many of us have witnessed the traumatic effects on our brothers or sisters who have battled depression, substance abuse, alcoholism, and other issues.
As firefighters, we practice situational awareness, being proactive, and being well trained in our craft. Why is it that these issues continue to grow statistically in our profession? Shouldn’t we be well trained in recognizing the signs of a ‘working fire’ within the heart of our fellow firefighter? Are we not a brotherhood? What can we do to better take care of each other?
This Spotlight on Brotherhood is meant to encourage one and all that something is being done and being done well. This ‘spotlight’ is meant to draw attention to a light in the darkness. Our brothers at American Addiction Center and the National Volunteer Firefighters Council have teamed up to create the “Share the Load Program.” They are taking a bold step in the right direction. Bringing Back Brotherhood Ministries is a proud sponsor of this program and it is our heartfelt mission to inform first responders everywhere that there is hope.
Yet in the face of hope, many of us do not share our burdens. We suffer in silence while our lives burn down around us. Our eyes seem to cry out for help but our words fail us. In need of rescue, many of us fail to call a personal MAY-DAY. Let us briefly explore those reasons and how this resource can overcome those objections.
We don’t believe there is help out there so we don’t call?
“The first step in getting help is to make the call. Simply call 1-888-731-FIRE (3473) any time day or night. Calls are free and confidential. A skilled, trained Intake Counsellor will answer your call. Make sure you identify yourself as a firefighter, EMT, or family member of the fire service. The Intake Counsellor will listen to your problems and concerns and identify local resources in your area, or when appropriate, locate national treatment options that work within your needs and insurance capabilities. Trained assistance professionals who are members of the fire service are available to talk, and the licensed counsellors at AAC treatment facilities have undergone intensive training specifically on the culture and needs of the fire service.”(from NVFC website)
Would they understand? Yes, they would!
When we hurt, who do we feel the most comfortable talking to? Our fellow firefighters! One of those licensed professionals is Mark Lamplugh. Mark Lamplugh Jr is a 4th generation firefighter and former Captain with the Lower Chi Chester Fire Company. He is now a national treatment consultant with 360 Wellness specializing in First Responder Services. Mark has placed and referred 100’s of firefighters nationwide. Mark dedicates his life making sure every firefighter gets the help they need for Addiction and Mental Health issues.
360 Wellness has access to the best treatment centers and clinicians across the country. Let our experienced wellness specialists match you with a treatment center or clinician that meets your needs and gets you on the road to full recovery as soon as possible. We make sure to get you the
best possible help available. Call our wellness hotline and speak with a wellness specialist to help you find the best help possible: (800) 901-1640
The citizens are taught to call 911 when in need; why don’t we call for help?
When you call 1-888-731-FIRE, the Fire/EMS Helpline any time day or night there will be a licensed professional ready to help us with problems such as: “alcohol or drug addiction, depression, suicide prevention, stress or anxiety, critical incidents, PTSD, stress caused by financial or stress problems, relationship issues, work related concerns, or psychological issues”
When you call, you will receive compassionate, non-judgmental support you can trust. Depending on your individual needs, you can speak with a trained fire service member who understands what you are going through, you can be referred to local resources to help with your specific problem, or you can be admitted to a treatment facility where there are licensed counsellors trained in the fire service culture. If a treatment center is needed, the Fire/EMS Helpline will work with your insurance to make sure there is no cost to you.” (From NVFC)
Brothers and sisters, there are fellow fire service professionals who are ready, willing and able to assist us by ‘sharing the load.’ We are not meant to carry our burdens alone. It is our hope that if you know someone in need, you are in need, or this will help your department that you will reach out. We have included the links to the following resources that are available:
Share The Load Program from the National Volunteer Fire Council: NVFC Share The Load
In our next Spotlight on Brotherhood we will continue to share the valuable work of other organizations that are helping lift up our brothers and sisters. Until next time, come along side one another and lift them up! Encouragement! We all are in need of it. May God Bless those who take courage to the next level by being strong enough to share their pain.