The Starkville Fire Department attends classes for their mental health

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – When you need help First responders, such as firefighters, are there with just one call, but after many calls they find themselves needing someone to talk to.

Firefighters in Starkville have been learning how to deal with the stress to take care of themselves and help them respond better to emergencies.

Over the past two weeks, Firefighters from Starkville Fire Department have learned a little about themselves and their mental health.

Earlier this year, Chief Charles Yarbrough says he and his team took a survey and mental wellness was one thing that his team asked for.

So, Chief Yarborough turned to the Mississippi State University Psychology department.

“People don’t realize how much we go through and how much we see and it’s always that time where we have a really bad call and somebody dies and we are thinking about what I could have done so it really stays with us for a really long time,” said Chief Yarbrough.

He says he’d rather address the problem before it’s too late.

“Firefighters are very important to me and no chief wants to lose a firefighter, of course, but definitely losing one by suicide is tragic,” said Chief Yarbrough.

Rebecca Kimbrough, the lead clinical trainer at Mississippi State University, says the reason for the classes is to teach people to better handle stress.

“We are trying to bridge the gap between the lack of access between mental health care services and the community of being able to help others around us,” said Kimbrough.

And Kimbrough teaches others that even as a first responder it is okay to not be ok.

“Even though our heroes wear capes and they are the ones running into danger at any point. first responders are still just as human as you and I are and our brains no matter who we are, are not meant to be able to experience trauma and so to be able to recognize how to handle that doesn’t mean you’re weak or lazy, or abnormal. it actually means you’re normal to be able to respond to that,” said Kimbrough.

And the response has been very positive.

“They were extremely open and responsive and I try to keep our meetings interactive as much as possible and our firefighters here are absolutely amazing,” said Kimbrough.

If you are interested in having Free Mental Health Awareness training you can contact Rebecca Kimbrough at for more information.

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