I was recently TDOed to a mental health group home for 3 days. It was determined I wasn't suicidal so I was released and given medication. I am now getting outpatient help. I am wanting to get on with a fire dept and worried that because of that I wont be able to.

 

Any thoughts? Anyone have any similar situations.

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If you are suffering from depression I would have to say the fire service may not be the best fit for you. Even though it is rewarding sometimes a lot of times it is not. You see a bunch of bad stuff that even bothers the toughest of the tough. Just my opinion, I do not want to discourage anyone from joining the fire service and we do not know you. You know you best and know what you can handle and what you can not. So you have to decide if you really want to subject yourself to depressing situations or not. Good-Luck to you and I hope you can over come your depression.

Derek sums the situation up well. We do see people when they are most desperate. We have to be strong to do whatever we can to help and not show our own emotions. You may have probably already heard that the fire service is often described as "hours of boredom punctuated by moments of shear terror."

The stress causes all kinds of negative side effects for many - such as divorce. It might not be right for you.

Hope all goes well for you.

Hi Bridge  or HYBRIDS  ( just kidding.. lol I could not resist)

I tried to see your profile, but could not. I thought I would try and see if I could take something away just by reading your information.  Anyway, the guys are right. Sadly, it MIGHT not be the best, not only for YOU, but for the crew members you would be working with. I mean, there are so many distractions on today's emergency scene, it is paramount that everyone.. and I do mean EVERYONE on scene brings their A GAME each and every time. If for some reason, and this is purely hypothetical, you have a "bad day" at work, it affects not only you, but also puts the safety of the crew and of course anyone they are trying to help, at risk. Having their minds elsewhere and not on the task at hand can have serious results. BUT there is good news! :)  YOU might try and get involved in some aspect of the fire service that keeps you out of the action so to speak. Fire prevention, instructing, and the list goes on. You might not need to ride the rigs at all, yet be part of the best profession in the whole world. Again, since I know ZERO about you, I can only assume, and I won't do that. I don't know what - if any level of training or fire education etc. you have.  I would welcome the opportunity to discuss things with you and really REALLY wish you the best and hope you will keep us all informed as to how things go with you. Take very good care :)

I'm going to take a different approach and say, don't let this stop you from pursuing such goals. The first step in any mental health issue is to recognize the issue exists and to do something about it, you did. In this day and age, unfortunately, we seem to see doctors too quick with prescription meds as opposed to working on the issues alone. However, this doesn't mean that any hopes are dashed, but it does mean it takes some big steps on your part to succeed.

 

The aspect of "getting on" with a dept can be taken a couple ways, as looking for a career job, or looking for volunteer. If volunteer, your chances can be "easier" depending on what the dept requires to get on. For a career dept, you tend to have to jump through more hoops and more and more often today you see psychological evaluations involved to get the job. Now don't panic....most psych evals are a freaking joke in the fire service and IMO, do more harm than good overall. Realitically in most such tests, the "psych eval" aspect has less to do with mental aspects than it does with BS testing. Seriously some of these tests consist of a timed say 200 question test where the questions are reworded and repeated....the trick is consistency and has little to do with mental eval. For example you may get a question like "I like to analyze data" with choices of strngly agree, agree, no opinon, disagree, strongly disagree.......and 70 questions later a question like "I dislike data analysis".

 

Either way, you really shouldn't ever have to disclose that you were treated for depression. This is a private issue and falls under HIPAA, so your provider just can't release this information. The ONLY way this could be an issue is if the dept asks if there was ever an issue. If they don't ask, you don't have to disclose. If they do ask, it doesn't mean you can't/won't be hired.

 

If things do work out for you and you do end up on the job, what these other guys did say is true. However, I won't say you couldn't/shouldn't do this job. Instead I see it stronger to identify a problem and get the help to address it. I would only advise if you DO get on the job, to maintain the approach to address issues. Don't bottle things up, address them. Talk to coworkers if things bother you, especially on bad scenes. Depts tend to have networks in place for members to seek help and perhaps one who is getting help could actually be an asset to others.

 

Don't let depression control you, you sought help, that is good. In all honesty, the scariest people on this job are those who present a false facade of strength and don't ask for help. Shit happens and just because you had an issue does NOT mean in any way you can't do this job, nor be good at it. As I type this, I learned a few hours ago of the loss of 4 FFs in Houston. Coming from a dept that lost a FF and another years later to suicide......mental health issues are real. There will be fellow Houston FFs who will be depressed and many who seek help. THAT IS WHAT IT IS THERE FOR. You did seek that....now don't let this control you and go out and accomplish your goals!

 

Awesome John. I could not agree more! Much better response and you nailed it well!

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