Warming Up the EMS Room at WMH

(Honesdale, January 18, 2021)…Once they’ve completed their task at Wayne Memorial Hospital (WMH), ambulance crews can relax with hot coffee and snacks inside a dedicated breakroom, thanks to the Wayne/Pike Northeast Suicide Prevention Initiative (NSPI) and the hospital cafeteria. The “EMS Room” also has new inspirational wall art and a cork board for messages. It’s all designed to provide crews with a warm welcoming environment.

Wayne/Pike NSPI purchased a Keurig machine for the room with monies set aside for education.  Studies show that rates of suicide are significantly higher among Emergency Medical Technicians, including firefighters and paramedics, than the general public.

“We felt this was something we needed to do as a group,” said Carol Kneier, MS, RD, CDE, LDN, treasurer of Wayne/Pike NPSI and manager WMH Community Health. “These individuals see trauma every day and it was important to let them know that we care and that we have resources available to help.”

The National Institutes of Health and the online group, EMS World, both cite research pointing to suicide rates as being at least 3% higher among EMTs than non-EMTs, noting that “EMS providers are at high risk for burnout, anxiety, depression, PTSD, and suicide.”

Local EMS crews, who answer calls for major medical events, gunshot wounds, vehicle accidents and other emergencies, were grateful for the new breakroom amenities.

“First responders see a lot in the field,” said Cindy Batzel, a member of both the White Mills Fire Department and NSPI. “And while we are trained to answer calls, it can take a toll, emotionally and mentally. The efforts of NSPI and WMH remind all EMS personnel who work in the field that they are valued and cared about. The new additions to the breakroom are just a tangible reminder that others see what we do, recognize our efforts, and care about our well-being.”

Batzel’s husband, Kenny, who is also a member of the White Mills Fire Department, added, “We work with the hospital and its Emergency Department staff every day, and these additions to our breakroom are appreciated.”

Wayne Memorial Hospital’s cafeteria staff, under the direction of manager Joe Peloso, will make sure the Keurig machine has adequate coffee supplies, as well as complimentary granola bars and other snacks.

Batzel adds, “If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text 741-741, you matter.”

Photo, left to right, standing: Ian Burns, White Mills Fire Department; Cindy Batzel; Danielle Cassidy, Tusten Ambulance; Kenny Batzel; Debbie  Franklin, Tusten;  Steve and Kathleen Piotrowski, Commonwealth Health Ambulance; WMH Dietary Manager Joe Peloso; Michele Churney, RN, manager outpatient services. Sitting: Carol Kneier; John Nebyzdoski/Wayne County Behavioral and Developmental Programs and Early Intervention and co-president, NSPI. Missing: Gabrielle Gardner, co-president, NSPI.