KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- Several Kansas City firefighters are in Washington, D.C. this week for the largest legislative conference among all labor unions.

Mental health is one of the topics they will be focusing on with members of Congress to encourage support on this issue.

As they protect our communities, professional firefighters are also facing threats to their own safety and well-being. That’s part of the reason area firefighters are headed to Washington, D.C. They need lawmakers’ help to battle cancer, PTSD and other behavioral health issues.

In Overland Park, they have an increased awareness because of not only issues their veterans have had, but because these issues have trickled down into their first responders.

They have everything from resiliency campaigns that’s funded by the city council, which included suicide awareness and trauma training.

They also have trained supervisors on suicide prevention, how to be counselors to their co workers and also how to spot signs of mental health and PTSA.

"I know because of these types of cultural changes that we’re working on, I know It’s going to pay dividends in the future. And I know that it’s paid dividends already to where we’ve been able to get members of our department assistance when necessary when they’re facing different types of challenges," said Jason Green, the EMS chief with the Overland Park Fire Department

The conference in Washington, D.C. is expected to be attended by more than 800 professional firefighters and union leaders from around the country.

The keynote speaker for the event is former Vice President Joe Biden.

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