As Jordon has often said, it’s easier for a firefighter to learn and understand psychology than it is for a psychologist to learn and understand firefighters. This stance has made Jordon a strong influence in the health and wellness of first responders.
In hopes of sharing some mental wellness tips with his own department, Jordon came up with some of the most important points of mental health and how they intertwined with firefighter culture and presented them to the Murray City Fire Department. That class not only received a welcomed and appreciated response, word spread to other agencies. Invitations were received, and Jordon began presenting to other organizations. Within the first year of presenting that Murray class, Jordon would go on to present his course 57 times to various firefighting, EMS, Police, Hospital, Military, and Dispatch organizations.
As doors opened, Jordon became a chair member of the Utah First Responder Suicide Prevention Coalition, a group of state mental health professionals, counselors, and first responders. The group sought to provide education, resources, and understanding to the issues of mental wellness.
In 2017 Jordon was invited to join the staff at the Utah Fire and Rescue Academy as a program manager for what would become their new mental wellness curriculum. Jordon was given a blank canvas from which to design and deliver wellness programs to Utah firefighters. Jordon would integrate three classes into that curriculum including the Firefighter Mental Health Awareness course and the Spouses Class, a course designed to help family members understand what it’s like to be close with a firefighter.
Recognizing the impacts and value of Peer Support Programs, Jordon began teaching classes in Peer Support as well as helping organizations build their own working programs. As organizations throughout the country began to build their own, Jordon received requests to oversee some of these programs, and in many cases, Jordon became a go-to peer support member for many cases. Jordon has freely given his contact out as a resource, and in turn received many phone calls of struggling first responder.
Jordon was invited to assist with the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation initiatives on mental health, the NFPA’s standards on firefighter wellness, and United States Fire Administration’s efforts to promote mental wellness in the American Fire Service.
We honor you, Jordon Petersen.