AFR chaplain writes song on destigmatizing firefighter mental health

AFR chaplain writes song on destigmatizing firefighter mental health

Seeing an increasing number of firefighters falling to suicide and mental health struggles, an AFR chaplain wrote a song hoping to destigmatize the topic and inspire more conversations.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — According to the National Fallen Firefighters Association, around 100 U.S. firefighters die by suicide each year.

As head chaplain for Albuquerque Fire Rescue, this is the reality David Meyers faces in his line of work.

“We see lots of things. We experience lots of things. People tend to think firefighters are big, bad, tough, and strong. While they are, we are also human,” Meyers said.

Meyers provides education, support and resources to fellow firefighters who may be struggling with their mental health.

His experiences and the loss he has faced inspired him to write the song, “Ropes.”

“We had a loss in our department a few years back. And there’s other departments, you know, around the country that have suffered the same,” Meyers said.

Mental health and suicide are often stigmatized, he says. He also never thought he’d put that into song.

“Have you seen those documentaries of people that have jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge and survived?” Meyers pointed out. “And they said, ‘As soon as my feet left, instant regret. Instant,’ And so I’m like, ‘Oh, my gosh, I don’t want to do this anymore. I don’t want to do this anymore’ kind of thing as they’re falling. Like, the song is about that space. Like, what is that?”

Meyers said “Ropes” is heavy – but he wants to dedicate it to his brothers and sisters in the line of duty.

“What I do know is that suicide has surpassed line-of-duty deaths in the fire service,” he said. “And so maybe I can just dedicate it to my brothers and sisters in the fire service who have experienced that at some level. And hopefully, this can bring them a little bit of peace, you know, through all that.”

“Ropes,” he hopes, will inspire more conversations on this topic.

According to Meyers, Albuquerque Fire Rescue is also working to strengthen the programs they already have to help more first responders within the department.

“Ropes” is available on all streaming platforms. If you’d like to listen to it or purchase it, click here.