December 5, 2023
Bulletin 66 – 23


Dear LAFD Members and Families:

The Peer Support Team of United Firefighters of Los Angeles City (UFLAC) Local 112 and The UFLAC Center for Health and Wellness wish you and your families a very Happy Holiday Season. While this time of year can be filled with joy and happiness, it can also be a time of great stress and emotional pain.

Some things to look out for during the holiday are feelings of loneliness, isolation, irritability, anxiety, fatigue and lack of motivation. In addition, those that have gone through grief/loss, separation or divorce, financial struggles, post traumatic stress, compassion fatigue, or burnout are especially vulnerable at this time of year. This time of year is also a great reminder to check on members that are going through grief and loss as well as members that are retired or out on injury.

Our mission is always to be available for our brothers and sisters in the fire service – and especially during your greatest time of need. If you find yourself struggling or wanting support, please reach out to one of our trained Peer Support Team Members or Behavioral Health Staff. Please click HERE for the Peer Support Team Roster, which includes your colleagues in the LAFD who will maintain your confidentiality and help you through your difficulties. As the UFLAC Behavioral Health team, you can also reach out to us at any time, day or night. Our team contact information is listed below.

As you know, Firefighters have incredibly dangerous, stressful, and time-consuming jobs that can lead to other challenges in their personal lives as well as experiencing cumulative job-related stress, but it is critical for you to know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. The UFLAC Behavioral Health Program is here for our members and ready to assist with free services that are confidential and supported by both specialized mental health professionals and highly-trained Peer Support Team Members (many of whom have been through the same issues that you may be experiencing right now).

Some helpful tips and reminders when navigating the stress of the holiday season can include: practicing self care or mindfulness to reduce stress and improve overall well-being, implementing healthy boundaries with family members and friends (it’s okay to say no) which can help reduce the risk of compassion fatigue and burnout, and connecting with a positive support system to combat feelings of isolation and loneliness.

The Behavioral Health Team and the UFLAC Peer Support Program all wish you and your families a very happy, healthy Holiday Season and remind you that we are always here to listen and to offer support to you and your families.

Best wishes and Happy Holidays to all of our LAFD members and families. Thank you for everything that you do to serve the people of Los Angeles and beyond.

Hugo Catalan Jr., Vera Rodriguez, and Melissa O’Keefe

Contact Information

Hugo Catalan Jr., AMFT, 133892, CATC IV
Chemical and Behavioral Addictions Manager
Cell: 213-544-5890
eMail: [email protected]

Vera Rodriguez, LMFT, #134497
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Cell: 213-238-3609
eMail: [email protected]

Dr. Melissa Ryan O’Keefe, PsyD, LMFT #130927
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Cell: 213-544-6100
eMail: [email protected]