Cal Fire taking a new approach with mental health

SISKIYOU COUNTY, CA.– Cal Fire is changing the way they approach mental health.

Cal Fire’s peer support staff said bringing in dogs and coloring books is an effective way to reduce stress.

The Mill and Mountain Fire camp has a peer support trailer with different activities to help keep firefighters relaxed.

The trailer has crayons, coloring books and cards for firefighters to send home to their families.

Cal Fire said they even bring therapy dogs to the camp in the mornings.

Cal Fire’s Nikole Schutz said, “it’s kind of funny, people walk by and they’ll see coloring books or crayons and they’re like, ‘what is happening here?’ but really, there’s a science behind those modalities.”

Schutz said there are also physicians available if firefighters need a higher level of care.

She said peer support has helped get rid of the stigma around mental health.

NBC5 News reporter Derek Strom is from Renton, Washington. He recently graduated from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communications at Washington State University with a degree in Broadcast News and a minor in Sports Management. He played in the drumline with the WSU marching band. These days, he plays the guitar and piano. Derek is a devoted fan of the Mariners, Seahawks, and Kraken.
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