December 9, 2022

Protecting Our First Responders From PTSD

Protecting Our First Responders From PTSD

Officers in the criminal justice system have a lot on their plates. From those we rely on in a medical emergency to those we trust to preserve justice, these professionals work relentlessly in difficult — and all-too-often thankless — occupations. Is enough being done to ensure that they, like us, are protected?

Firefighters commit suicide at a higher rate than those who die in the line of duty, according to a recent study. In addition, it is estimated that hundreds of police officers commit themselves each year. Suicide attempts and ideas have increased in recent years, which is alarming. They are frequently the outcome of the trauma and emotional stress that their jobs have caused them.

In these high-stress, high-risk jobs, first responders are frequently placed in perilous — and often life-threatening — situations. Physical injuries, dangerous environments, upsetting experiences, and a range of other factors could all have a bad impact on their mental health. Long work hours, physical strain, and a lack of sleep are only a few examples of work-related issues connected to unfavorable results.

In comparison to the general population, 30{158b0f370b74aa33d715c948ccface6f24c37e9cee84469cdad5d42d83cc2d5f} of first responders suffer depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other behavioral health disorders as a result of these occurrences. When you’re not working, the stress doesn’t go away, and it doesn’t look the same for everyone. As a result of PTSD, officers and other members of the public safety community may have symptoms such as substance abuse, wrath, anxiety, sleeping problems, and digestive issues.

Despite the fact that persons with PTSD have access to tools and counseling, mental health is still stigmatized. This stigma exists across the United States, albeit it is more prevalent in certain industries. Treatment is frequently delayed as a result of these institutional and cultural restraints, leaving public safety officers to deal with the situation alone.

Fortunately, there are organizations working to raise public awareness about the impact of mental illness on current and past first responders. More preventive and educative initiatives have resulted in more support, therapy, and open communication.

Even if peer support is beneficial, professional assistance is still necessary. This type of help is available from a variety of sources. Virtual aid services are private, despite the fact that public safety personnel has a number of free possibilities. There are also phone lines staffed by people who understand how much time and work it takes to keep the public secure.

We can do so much more to help our heroes in health care and public safety. It all starts with all of us working together to promote awareness and remove the stigma surrounding mental health treatment. More information about PTSD in public safety workers can be found in the resource.

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