The Northern Nevada Peer Support Network (NNPSN) is now serving first responders.
NNPSN’s mission is to provide quality mental health resources and support to first-responders and hospital health care professionals so they may live their very best lives possible on and off duty.
They accomplish this with collaborative efforts to improve resilience by means of breaking down mental barriers surrounding mental health and align those that serve with optimum mental readiness.
Dr. Steve Nicholas, the clinician for Truckee Meadows Fire and Rescue, says,
First responders are everyday people who are then, when they put on their uniforms, asked to do extraordinary things.
“They’re under the impression that to demonstrate pain is weakness, and that’s a false narrative. Pain is normal. Pain is what everyone goes through. The culture asks for first responders to act like it doesn’t hurt like it’s not difficult when of course it is,” said Nicholas.
NNPSN organizers say, for the past five years, more firefighters and members of law enforcement were lost to suicide than the line of duty.
The suicidal loss of Truckee Meadows firefighter Tyler Ewald, in June of 2019, inspired the creation of this hopefully life-saving, organization — a display honoring Ewald now hangs in the firehouse.
Ewald’s father says he saw no warning signs, and that they spent a lot of time together as a family.
Captain Derek Reid with TMFPD and the founder and president of NNPSN says, “The last thing we want to do is bring home our traumatic experiences and tell our families, our wives, our kids about a very disturbing, traumatizing event. We don’t want to pass that trauma on vicariously to our loved ones so if we don’t talk with each other within our own house, we take that burden home with us. It builds up and manifests in different ways.”
To help with working through the pain and even normalizing it, NNPSN offers services including
- Peer support
- Access to doctors
- Support groups
- Treatment centers
The network is made up of and serves a variety of emergency workers like police officers, firefighters, EMS workers, hospital workers, dispatchers, military and more.
NNPSN relies on donations and fundraisers to keep going, and without the ability to host a typical fundraiser due to the pandemic, they’re in more need than before.
You can learn more about NNPSN and donate here.