VIDEO: One year ago, firefighters from Great Falls Fire Rescue joined other departments from across the state to take part in a peer support training.
IAFF Local 8 President David Van Son says this training is a shift from only focusing on the physical aspects of the job to shining a light on mental health.
“We can recognize that they need some help with post-traumatic stress, family issues, or anything that they might be dealing with that is coming from the job. Then we know to get them on the right track,” Van Son said.
Van Son says once the training had initially ended, a group of five people came together to start the process of putting peer support together for the department.
“We vetted some counselors. We got some treatment centers in Great Falls that are on board with us. We really took our time and developed the program,” Van Son said.
Van Son says it was important that they took this last year to put the program together because they found in their training if mistakes are made with one member, they would risk losing the trust of the rest of the department.