Addressing Mental Health in the Fire Service

Rapid Fire

Jan 11 2022 • 53 mins

First responders are expected to be calm and level-headed but the stressors faced by those in the fire service can have a cumulative impact on mental health and well-being. Listen in as Andy Starnes and Dena Ali discuss the stigma associated with firefighters seeking help and how peer support resources can be a solution.

What You Can Expect To Learn

  • Biggest misconceptions about mental health in firefighters
  • Addressing feelings vs recycling them
  • PTSD & peer support resources
  • Implementing mental health solutions within the fire house
  • The cause of most firefighter suicides
  • Individual coping mechanisms


Dena Ali is a Captain with the Raleigh (NC) Fire Department and previously served as a police officer for five years. She is also the founder and director of North Carolina Peer Support where she helped to develop their statewide curriculum. During her career she earned the NC Office of State Fire Marshal Honor, Courage, and Valor award for her steadfast effort to bring awareness to firefighter mental health. Dena is advocate of awareness, education, and understanding of mental health disorders and suicidality. She speaks on these topics and is a QPR Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper Instructor. Dena holds a degree from North Carolina State University and an MPA from the University of North Carolina—Pembroke, where her research focused on firefighter suicide.

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