Heroes Helping Heroes: Firefighters Give a Holiday Gift to St. Joe’s in Support of First Responder Mental Health

Sometimes, even heroes need help. That’s why we’re grateful to the Hamilton Professional Fire Fighters Association (HPFFA) – Local 288 for a gift to St. Joe’s in support of specialized mental health care for first responders, health, and community care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The firefighters fundraised $4,000 for St. Joe’s as part of their annual holiday blitz of benevolence. They wanted to give back to the Hospital that delivers care to frontline workers struggling to cope with the trauma they face while in the line of duty. It’s a cause that’s close to their hearts.

Mental health has become even more of a concern for HPFFA members, as the pandemic has amplified anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder among their professional fire-fighting peers.

“The last two years have really highlighted the importance of mental health among first responders, as well as other essential workers who provide life-saving services to our community,” says Brad Norris, chair of HPFFA’s charity and community support committee. “With this donation, not only are we supporting the wellness of our members, but also the great work St. Joe’s does as the largest provider of mental health care in our region for everyone aged 17 and older.”

The donation, he says, is also a reminder to his colleagues that stress, exhaustion, and compassion fatigue are all normal responses to this unrelenting pandemic, and it’s OK to ask for support.

“There’s no need to struggle, and no shame in asking for help,” he says. “There are services out there if you need them.”

St. Joe’s is one of five Ontario hospitals providing mental health care to first responders, health, and community care workers during the pandemic. Our Hospital offers a number of confidential care options, including virtual consultations, one-on-one sessions and peer support groups.

It’s with thanks to our generous community that St. Joe’s was able to fund a dedicated, around-the-clock intake worker who promptly responds to requests for care from frontline workers—so they can access the care they need, whenever they need it.

You too, can support specialized mental health services at our Hospital, by making a gift to St. Joe’s. For first responders, health, and community care workers seeking access to mental health care services, please visit stjoes.ca.