ANDERSON, Ind. (NewsLink) — "I can only hope the small number in attendance is a reflection of those affected by suicide. Sadly I don't believe that is true." These are the words fireman James Harless said while opening up a discussion on suicide awareness.
The Anderson Firefighter and EMS Support Network held an open discussion Tuesday, Oct. 29 from 6-8 P.M. at Highland Middle School. This was the first community outreach program the community has hosted.
The Anderson Fire Department is one of the first to begin a peer support group for their firefighters. This support group began in 2014 in response to a rise in suicides among their first responders.
Anderson officials decided it was time to extend their support to the community after several different tragedies struck near their area, particularly two suicides committed by teenagers from neighboring towns on the same day.
Harless believed the event was needed in order to inform the community of the ways they can get help if harmful thoughts ever run through their head.
The Anderson Peer Support Group also hopes this event will help inspire other departments to begin similar programs for their first responders.
If you are interested in spreading this program to your community, contact James Harless at (765) 639-6549.