Me First World Services
Taking Care of Me First To Better Help Others
ME FIRST WORLD SERVICES is a nonprofit organization specializing in PTSD for all first responders, whether it is Firefighters, paid and volunteer, Law Enforcement Officers, EMTs and Paramedics who are struggling with addiction, PTSD or other related behavioral health challenges can receive the help they need in taking the first steps toward recovery. ME FIRST WORLD SERVICES provides a safe place for members to talk with other members who have faced or overcame similar challenges without judgment.
If you’re struggling with post-traumatic stress along with co-occurring depression, anxiety or substance abuse disorders, talking with other first responders who understand the first responder culture and the unique pressures of your job may help. ME FIRST WORLD SERVICES connects you to peer support groups near you, evidence-based therapies delivered by other first responders who understand the types of trauma you experience on a day-to-day basis.
The members of ME FIRST WORLD SERVICES should not discuss attendees with anyone — your respective departments, family or friends — unless given explicit permission by you. This applies before, during and after the group meetings.
With our peer support groups across the state of Louisiana, the helping environment provided by the ME FIRST WORLD SERVICES group meetings are unsurpassed. ME FIRST WORLD SERVICES provides information about other treatment centers to help members with specialized treatment for the everyday stressors that trigger PTSD, behavioral health disorders and/or substance abuse.
Mental Health Stigma
Mental health providers face challenges when treating fire fighters. One challenge is the stigma associated with fire fighters seeking help. Fire fighters may not trust mental health providers to understand their problems. Mental health and medical professionals can earn trust through knowledge. Professionals who understand the fire fighter culture can make reaching out more comfortable.
With ME FIRST WORLD SERVICES, the members in the peer support groups are experienced in emergencies first responders face daily. Our mission is to offer a friendly ear to members who have the desire to get help finding mental clarity for PTSD and other behavioral health disorders. Our members support and help first responders return to being a better version of their selves.
Substance Misuse and PTSD
First responders sometimes use drugs and alcohol to deal with PTSD symptoms, which can be another barrier to treatment. First responders may turn to drugs and alcohol instead of talking to someone. At the time, it may feel better to deal with their pain privately instead of getting help. Unfortunately, in the long run, substance abuse often makes PTSD symptoms worse.
Individuals who struggle with substance use disorder have been found to be six times more likely to make a suicide attempt. Discussions about mental health healthcare are becoming more acceptable in the first responder community. Mental health is being treated with similar respect as physical health.
How the First Responders Can Reduce Mental Health Stigma
First Responders can serve as leaders to other public safety occupations by promoting behavioral health as an important component of overall health, just as physical fitness, nutrition, or heart health. This community can also continue to promote healthier living habits.
Reducing Stigma Is an Ongoing Priority for first responders
All of these actions help first responders fight stigma. Time is critical when first responders are saving a life. This same sense of urgency is needed with behavioral healthcare for first responders. Reducing the stigma associated with mental health can help protect those who lay their lives on the line for others every day.
If you or someone you know is living with PTSD or substance addiction, help is available. With ME FIRST WORLD SERVICES, members can receive help for both substance use and co-occurring disorders. PTSD, depression and other disorders can be addressed by other group members who understand first responders. Call today or search online to find locations for group meetings. The call is free, confidential and there is no obligation to attend.
Common Co-Occurring Disorders for First Responders
Substance Use Disorder
Alcohol Use Disorder
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Social Anxiety Disorder
Major Depressive Disorder
Meetings for Co-Occurring Disorders in First Responders
Because struggles with addiction are rarely isolated, it’s important to understand the mental and behavioral roots of substance use disorder. Instead of masking or healing a symptom, treating co-occurring issues simultaneously often paves the road for more effective and long-term healing. If addiction is treated without uncovering the underlying emotional, behavioral and environmental factors, you will be more susceptible to setbacks.
ME FIRST WORLD SERVICES focuses on behavioral health issues that uniquely affect first responders. These professionals are susceptible to mental health and co-occurring issues because of the sensitive and difficult nature of their important work. By honoring and acknowledging the mind’s powerful impact on the body, along with the significance of emotional health, first responders whom seek help from us can work to manage and heal co-occurring issues for a sustained career and healthier life.
If you or another first responder you know is struggling with addiction along with a potential co-occurring mental or behavioral health issue, help is as close as a phone call. ME FIRST WORLD SERVICES is available to offer guidance and help you find a meeting location near you.
Firefighters, police officers and EMTs must train extensively on an array of topics to be both effective and remain safe. Law enforcement officers perform active-shooter drills; firefighters hold live-fire training burns; and EMTs simulate mass casualty incidents to be prepared to respond in any situation. Yet, one of the most damaging experiences for these men and women is one that very few actually prepare for.
Public safety personnel are often exposed to horrific scenes in the line of duty. These professionals respond to tragic events that permeate all senses including sight, sound and smell. Unfortunately, there is little-to-no training offered to adequately prepare public safety professionals to process trauma. This training gap doesn’t make sense: firefighters, EMTs and police officers are far more likely to experience trauma, so why is there not more training to prepare them?
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reports that suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. The highest rate is among middle-aged white men. Suicide numbers among first responders are much worse. The Ruderman White Paper on Mental Health and Suicide of First Responder states that firefighters and law enforcement officers are more likely to die by suicide than from a line-of-duty death.
In 2017, there were 103 reported firefighter suicides and 93 line-of-duty deaths. The Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance estimates approximately 40% of firefighter suicides are reported. If this estimate is correct, the actual number of suicides would be 257, more than twice the number of line-of-duty deaths.
Job stress is likely the largest contributing factor. Suicide is the result of mental illness, like depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Police and firefighters experience near constant exposure to death and destruction. PTSD and depression rates among firefighters and police officers are nearly five times higher than the civilian population. Even when suicide doesn't happen, untreated mental illness can lead to poor physical health and impaired decision-making.
The stigma of mental illness within fire and police organizational culture can stop people from seeking help. Many national organizations have developed hotlines and programs to help people dealing with stress and depression. Your department can use these programs to build an internal support system for your members.
Help Us Help Others
ME FIRST WORLD SERVICES relies heavily on the generosity of others who give their time or contribute financially. Your donation will be used to help first responders- maybe even someone you know - get over a mental issue. Get in touch with us to find out about all the ways you can contribute and support our cause.
“Happiness depends upon ourselves”