When a fellow Glendale firefighter in despair approached Ashley Losch on the job about struggles with mental health, Ashley found herself in an unfamiliar place.
Firefighters are highly trained and highly skilled thinkers and problem solvers by trade.
Not this time.
“I didn’t feel prepared. I didn’t know how to help them in a way that would be effective other than listening,” Ms. Losch, a Glendale firefighter, remembered on Sept. 15, during a break at Station 101, at 6851 N. 52nd Ave. “It just didn’t feel like enough.”
Mental illness and the safest, most effective ways to support it among firefighters has been in sharp focus of late.
A 2018 study by the Ruderman Family Foundation -- a non-partisan, philanthropic organization advocating “for and advance the inclusion of people with disabilities” -- revealed that firefighters across the U.S. statistically are more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty. In 2017, there were at least 103 firefighter suicides and, in contrast, 93 firefighters killed in the line of duty.