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Initiative works to erase stigma surrounding mental health among firefighters

Posted at 4:04 PM, Jul 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-06 16:04:45-04

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Plainfield Township Fire Department will receive the second $25,000 to help battle the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

It's the second installment of a $100,000 pledge from Belfor Property Restoration to help fight that stigma and is part of what's known as the Yellow Rose Project.

The Michigan Association of Fire Chiefs has an initiative aimed at changing the stigma around mental health issues firefighters and first responders may receive on the job.

David Glotzbach, president of the association and fire chief of the Muskegon Township Fire Department, says he recognizes the alarming rate at which first responders are committing suicide.

That’s where the Yellow Rose Project comes in.

The project offers financial backing for fire departments to treat mental wellness like they would a physical injury.

“You sprain an ankle, we see that, we know that, we send you to get medical help, you’re back and 100 percent,” Glotzbach said. “Mental wellness, if recognized early, can be treated properly.”

Plainfield Township's fire department will hold a ceremony to celebrate the donation at 11:30 a.m. July 8 at Fire Station #3.

“We don’t view this as a single course of action, or a silver bullet fix,” Glotzbach said. “This is a long-term, multiple-avenue approach to mental wellness.”