May 04, 2022 2 Comments
The job of a firefighter is not an easy one.
The lifestyle it requires and the sacrifices it demands can be extraordinarily stressful, even on the best days. On the more difficult days, it can test a person’s limits.
Next Rung exists to help them through it.
The organization launched with a mission to help firefighters and first responders combat mental health issues, providing access to peer-to-peer and professional resources that are so desperately needed.
The Fire Dept. Coffee Foundation is honored to support Next Rung with a donation of $5,000 to help them impact the lives of more men and women in those moments where they need a hand to lift them to that next step up toward brighter days.
Fire Dept. Coffee has had the chance to get to know the work of the Next Rung team because our vice president, Jason Patton, met Next Rung’s founder Blake Stinnett through mutual friends in mental health circles. They’ve collaborated on occasion to help firefighters get the help they need, giving Jason a firsthand look at the heart of the organization and the difference they’re making.
Next Rung is entirely funded by the contributions of individuals and businesses that recognize the value of their work and are moved to help however they can. And that help is making a difference. In 2021, the organization connected 267 firefighters and first responders with peer support services, 64 with professional counseling and 7 with in-patient treatment at a professional medical center.
This three-tiered approach is designed to provide the right level of care and attention for each individual and each unique situation.
Often the first step in confronting mental health issues is having an open, honest conversation with someone who understands your situation. Next Rungs Peer-to-Peer mental health support program allows those enduring difficult times to speak directly with another first responder via talk, text, social media messaging, email, Skype or FaceTime.
The goal is to make the exchange easy and on their terms. Every conversation comes with the promise of anonymity and confidentiality to ensure that everyone is free to speak their minds completely.
When a first responder needs support that goes beyond the level of peer-to-peer counseling, Next Rung serves as an intermediary and a facilitator to help them get the professional help they require.
Next Rung helps connect the first responder with a professional counselor who has an understanding of the stresses and realities of life as a first responder. An emphasis is placed on finding a counselor nearby, which eases the burden of travel and offers the benefits of in-person conversations.
Next Rung has built relationships with various in-patient mental health treatment centers, allowing them access to a professional network that makes such treatment a realistic option for those first responders who need a higher level of care.
The organization will get to know the first responder’s situation and then connect them with the in-patient facility that provides the best available treatment. Next Rung will do all it can to help make a difference.
At the Fire Dept. Coffee Foundation, we recognize that mental health issues are a reality of life for too many first responders. They are often unavoidable, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be confronted and overcome.
We’re proud to support Next Rung and their tireless efforts to support the mental health of first responders everywhere.
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