Woman who lost her husband to suicide educates first responders about mental health

ENDEAVOR, Wisconsin (WMTV) – The job of first responders is to take care of others, but when it comes to mental health, taking care of yourself isn’t always a priority. A Marquette County woman raises awareness about suicide prevention after losing her husband to suicide.

Dian Pinney and her husband Mathew spend 30 years together. “He loved the outdoors and above all he loved his family. We adopted two beautiful daughters in 2010 and just had a great time together, ”said Dian.

On January 19, 2021, Dian’s husband committed suicide. “When I got home from work I went to look for him and unfortunately I found him.”

“Matthew committed suicide. Gunshot wound, ”Dian said.

Mathew Pinney was a volunteer firefighter for the Endeavor / Moundville Fire Department with 30 years of experience.

He dedicated his life to helping others on and off the clock, but when it came to helping himself, Dian says her husband struggled.

“He was having depression issues. 6 months before his death, I had a conversation with him and told him that I really cared about you, I’m afraid you will hurt yourself, and he assured me, no no no, don’t ‘don’t worry about it, “she said.

Dian says that sometimes when a loved one is struggling with mental health issues, the signs can be difficult to read or understand. She also points out that the stigma surrounding mental health is a huge factor.

“For Mathew, he didn’t want anyone to know he had mental health issues. Every time I reached out to a minister or his friend, it embarrassed him. I offered to go to the doctor with him and he just didn’t want to, ”Dian said.

She now hopes that sharing Mathew’s story will help someone else in trouble, especially the other first responders.

“If they are feeling sad, depressed, depressed, reach out and talk to their bosses, their bosses, their wives. Call the doctor. To get help, because it’s not such a bad thing to get help, ”Dian said.

Michael Bourdeau, Fire Chief at Endeavor, says Mathew was an amazing firefighter. The Endeavor Moundville Fire Department is a volunteer service and Bourdeau says Mathew was a valued member of the team.

“He was a super reliable guy and we all loved having him here,” said Bourdeau.

Chief Bourdeau says Mathew is one of three first responders he knows to kill himself in the past year. He says a brighter light needs to be shed on the mental health of first responders given the nature of the job. “A lot of the signs weren’t there. They weren’t very open about their feelings, ”Bourdeau said.

He encourages those who are struggling to seek help and to use all the resources at their disposal.

Back in April. Governor Tony Evers enacted Senate Bill 11 allowing public safety officers diagnosed with PTSD to receive workers’ compensation benefits under certain circumstances. This law does not apply to volunteer first responders because they are technically not employees. Bourdeau says he should.

September is National Suicide Prevention Month. If you or someone you know is in trouble and needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or you can text “Hopeline” at 741741.

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