Peer Support

Need Help?

If you’re in crisis or need help, please call our 24-hour hotline: 888-784-6634

This confidential, free service is available for all active volunteer, paid-on-call, part-time and full-time Minnesota firefighters. Phone lines are answered 24/7 and provide confidential support, guidance and mental health resources.

We’ve been there, and we’re here for you.

Firefighters are exposed to traumatic stress at particularly high rates and getting help from someone who has lived similar experiences can make all the difference. MnFIRE peer supporters are here to provide confidential support to those experiencing personal, emotional or work-related problems, while acting as a bridge to outside professional services.

Through the MnFIRE Assistance Program, we match firefighters with a trained peer supporter who has a similar background and knows firsthand the difficulties firefighters face. They are well-equipped to walk alongside firefighters as they navigate their situation – from coping with difficult calls or critical incidents, to talking through life problems like divorce or a death in the family. MnFIRE Peer Support is a safe, confidential space to share what you’re going through.

By providing emotional support outside of the traditional medical system, peer support directly reduces the culture of silence in the fire service that has all too often resulted in worsening mental health and suicide.

  • “Without the help of MnFIRE I believe I would not be here today. Words can never express the gratitude I have for helping me regain my life and understanding I am okay and will only get better.”

    Peer Support Recipient
  • “Part of MnFIRE’s process is connecting you with like-minded people or putting you in touch with someone who has been in your shoes. Even though I’m the peer supporter, the connection goes both ways for me. The fire industry is unique and not easily understood by those not in it and this is a great opportunity for our industry to come together as one big family.”

    Angeline Appelholm
    Peer Supporter
  • “I did not feel alone, I felt like someone had my back through this entire journey.”

    Peer Support Recipient
  • “It was nice to know I’m not the first person to have my feelings.”

    Peer Support Recipient
  • “No issue is too small or big. You never know when a firefighter is in need of someone who understands. [MnFIRE Peer Support] is a safe place to know you’re not alone and so many people care about you.”

    Jim Salentine
    Peer Supporter
  • “I had no place to go and no one to turn to when I hit rock bottom. I had built a wall around me and my peer slowly and compassionately took it down piece by piece. We may give up on ourselves sometimes, but the peers of MnFIRE will never give up on you.”

    Peer Support Recipient
  • “I was treated like a person and not just another number or a random person calling.”

    Peer Support Recipient

Become a peer supporter

Provide confidential support to your fire service brothers and sisters experiencing personal, emotional or work-related problems. We’re recruiting:

  • Chief/command staff peers
  • Active/retired peers
  • Full-time/POC/volunteer peers
  • Spouse/family peers

Join us for our next Peer Support training

Sign up for the MnFIRE Insider newsletter so you get reminded the next time we’re hosting a Peer Support training session.


MnFIRE Peer Support Team

The MnFIRE Peer Support program is managed by PRO Network, a highly qualified and credentialed team of mental health experts with ample experience working directly with first responders.

Dr. Melinda Coscarelli, PhD, LADC, LPCC
Medical Director, MnFIRE Assistance Program & Peer Support

Dr. Coscarelli is an experienced psychotherapist who owns and operates PRO Network where she specializes in working with firefighters, first responders and health care professionals. She is known for her evidence-based neuroscience therapies for treating addiction, depression, anxiety, trauma and confidence-related issues. In her practice, Dr. Coscarelli takes a humanistic approach, focusing on the whole person, and her goal is to continue helping those who selflessly help others every day.

Rochelle Hawthorne, MS
MnFIRE Peer Support Program Manager

In addition to her work with MnFIRE Peer Support, Rochelle is a dedicated MnFIRE trainer and full-time firefighter/paramedic for the Maplewood Fire Department. Rochelle started her career in the fire service in 2008, became a paramedic in 2010, and holds master’s degrees in clinical mental health counseling and public and nonprofit administration. She is a member of Maplewood’s community mental health outreach team and serves as a tactical medic for Ramsey County SWAT. She has extensive training and experience in providing Critical Incident Stress Debriefings and as a first responder herself, Rochelle is passionate about working with firefighters and public safety personnel in her therapy practice.

State-compliant Peer Support Resources

Did you know our Peer Support program and MnFIRE trainings comply with the new Public Safety Duty Disability law around annual wellness training and peer support programs? Contact DeeDee Jankovich, Director of Program Delivery, to learn more.

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