BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – The annual Louisiana Instructors & Firefighters Training (LIFT) Conference is back, bigger and better than ever before. The conference gives first responders, from all over the U.S., a safe place, where they can learn, network, and decompress. 

First responders from all over endure so much being out in the community every day helping others but because of stresses from the job, first responder suicide numbers are rising.

“When you are running medical calls on women utilizing drugs, overdosing on drugs or just plain you can see they are already negligent with their children and they are pregnant, it is triggering. You see that so many times you are not going to stay cool, you are going to deteriorate,” said Meg Kling a firefighter/operator.

LIFT and LSU decided to do something about it by providing more affordable mental health training.

“They created a class called Mind and Body Tactical Training. So, it also helps your physical and mental health on the job. Another class we are doing is addressing suicide and it’s a proactive approach to first responders’ mental health,” said St. George Fire Department Captain Clyde Shuford.

Louisiana Instructors & Firefighters Training is one of two conferences offering mental and suicide prevention classes to first responders. One firefighter says she’s already feeling the difference.

“What this training does is it takes the trigger and it teaches you how to retrain your mind,” said Kling.

Firefighters are excited about the new training brought to the conference. 

“I am kind of looking forward to everything,” said Aaron Karwel, a firefighter paramedic for St. George Fire Department. “Just getting to hang out with close friends and getting to learn a lot.”