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211 Broward and 211 Palm Beach/Treasure Coast’s Hero4Hero Support Line Continues Vital Need

EMS providers are 1.39 times more likely to die by suicide than the public.

To address the increasing challenges first responders and their families encountered, the State of Florida and the Department of Children and Families collaborated with 211 Broward and 211 Palm Beach/Treasure Coast to introduce Hero4Hero in 2022. This 24/7 confidential peer support line has been providing comprehensive mental health assistance, ensuring first responders and their families receive the care they deserve around the clock. Since its establishment in Broward, Palm Beach, and the Treasure Coast areas, there have been over 24,000 life-saving calls or website visits for support. It offers toll-free access to a range of regional, statewide and national resources to support first responders and their families’ behavioral health needs.

Hero4Hero serves 911 Dispatchers, Corrections/Detention Officers, Emergency Medical Technicians, Firefighters, Paramedics, Law Enforcement and their families. The support line is staffed by former first responders and peer support specialists who are extensively trained to provide comprehensive support to current and former first responders and their families.

Repeated daily exposure to stressful and disturbing events can have a significant impact on one’s mental health, leading to the development of mental health challenges and PTSD among both responders and their family members. According to a survey by the Florida Department of Children and Families and Division of Emergency Management, over half of first responders reported experiencing acute, episodic or chronic stress levels. Despite being the first to respond to emergencies, firefighters, police officers, 911 dispatchers, corrections officers and emergency service personnel often hesitate to seek help.

Over the past two years, the Hero4Hero support line has focused on addressing the diverse needs of first responders and their families who are dealing with stress, trauma, depression, suicidal thoughts and other challenges in their daily lives. Hero4Hero’s goal is to revolutionize suicide prevention across the first responder community by providing confidential access to community resources, emotional support, crisis intervention, trauma-informed care, care coordination, mental health and substance use treatment and suicide prevention.

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health:

  • Law enforcement officers and firefighters are more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty.  When comparing the number of first responder suicide deaths from 2017-2022, most of
  • The suicide deaths are among EMS professionals and firefighters.
  • EMS providers are 1.39 times more likely to die by suicide than the public.
  • Between 17% and 24% of public safety telecommunicators have symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and 24% have symptoms of depression.

The support line Hero4Hero ensures that all calls are confidential and can be anonymous. It is important to note that the support line is not affiliated with first responders’ employers, insurance, or employee assistance programs. Additionally, the Hero4Hero support line is backed by the Southeast Florida First Responder Support Coalition, which is a partnership between 211 Broward, 211 Palm Beach/Treasure Coast, Broward Behavioral Health Coalition, Group Victory, Public Safety Chaplaincy, Southeast Florida Behavioral Health Network and United Way of Broward County.

First responders and their families can reach the 866-760-HERO (4376) support line or learn more at www.Hero4Hero.org

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky

Editor-in-Chief

BIOGRAPHY

Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.