We Serve

First Responders

First responders are the first people to assist at the scenes of emergencies. They include law enforcement, firefighters, correctional officers, EMS, dispatchers, and 911 operators. Therefore, they face an increased risk of experiencing behavioral health issues, including mental illness. Fear of being seen as weak or not up to the job of a first responder keeps many from seeking help.

What We Do

The Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation provides evidence-based gatekeeper training from our ARPA First Responder QPR Instructor grant. This project aims to equip key first responder personnel with the confidence and competence needed to initiate conversations about suicide with colleagues, instill hope, and refer at-risk colleagues to appropriate mental and behavioral health resources. After participants become certified QPR instructors, they can access supplemental resources on the QPR website, which include information and resources in gatekeeper training presentations specific to first responders.

By the Numbers

More Likely

Police officers and firefighters are more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty.


85% of first responders have experienced mental health complications.


Depression and PTSD are 5 times more common in first responders.


35% of police officers experience PTSD.


18-24% of 911 operators and dispatchers experience PTSD.


25% of first responders are at a high risk for suicide.

Risk Factors

  • Exposure to incidents that put the first responders or those around him/her at risk for death or severe injury

  • Witnessing or participating in incidents where rescue involves preventing death of mitigating serious or severe injury

  • Previous suicide attempt

  • History of depression and other mental illness

  • Job/financial problems or loss

  • Impulsive or aggressive tendencies

  • Substance use

  • Social isolation

  • Loss of relationships

  • Sense of hopelessness

Warning Signs

  • Existing mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD

  • Expressing hopelessness, despair, anger, or rage

  • Appearing sad or depressed most of the time

  • Feeling anxious, agitated, or unable to sleep

  • Neglecting personal wellbeing

  • Withdrawing from family and friends

  • Losing interest in day-to-day activities

  • Frequent and dramatic mood changes

  • Expressing feelings of excessive guilt or shame

  • Feelings of failure or decreased performance at work, home, or other daily activities

  • Feeling like there’s no reason to live

  • Increased alcohol or substance use

  • Talking about death, saying goodbye, or giving away possessions

Support Resources

Life Side Ohio is a campaign of direct, suicide prevention outreach dedicated to the firearms community.

This campaign is sponsored by the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation