IAFC Quick Take: Information and flexibility key to addressing behavioral health needs

IAFC Quick Take: Information and flexibility key to addressing behavioral health needs

In an IAFC Coronavirus Task Force webinar, President Gary Ludwig introduced FDNY Capt. Frank Leto, deputy director of the department’s Counseling Service, to discuss how officials have modified and enhanced procedures to meet the mental health needs of firefighters and EMS providers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Leto, who has served as the director since before the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks and has assisted with the mental health needs of members through numerous crises, noted he was surprised at the scope of the toll the public health emergency inflicted. During his presentation, Leto outlined a myriad of ways the pandemic was affecting members at all levels of the department, and how the FDNY Counseling Service adapted to their needs. He also detailed the changes that are being made to prepare for a second wave of COVID-19 in the fall, and the actions leaders are already taking to address complicated behavioral health needs. Memorable quotes about the importance of behavioral health during a crisis Here are some memorable quotes from Leto. “The amount of stress on the members, with the constant, daily changes in the protocols and in their work schedules, and whatever else was going on in their homes, and then sickness on top of it, really brought stress into the department and to each individual member.” “We protect our families from information, we protect our families from what we deal with on an everyday basis, and now we were going home and infecting them. Members were calling up and saying, ‘I have a ...
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