37% of First Responders suffer from behavioral health problems, including addiction and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The rate of attempted suicide among First Responders is steadily increasing to more than 10 times the national average.
The rate of attempted suicide among First Responders is steadily increasing to more than 10 times the national average. The National Suicide Average is 6%.
Millions of lives are saved annually by this special population; which includes, but is not limited to Police Officers, Firefighters, Correctional Officers, EMTs, and 911 Dispatchers.
It is in their very nature to put other’s needs before their own. Often times, the individuals who protect and serve on a daily basis find it difficult to ask for help for themselves.
It is estimated that 30 percent of First Responders develop behavioral health conditions including, but not limited to, depression and Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as compared with 20 percent in the general population.
Rates of PTSD in firefighters may be heightened more so than in other professions.
People who have experienced multiple traumatic events have been found to be at greater risk for developing PTSD, such as Firefighters.
In a national sample of firefighters, current Post-Traumatic Stress symptoms were found to be associated with 5.2% higher odds of attempting suicide during their firefighting careers.
In 1,027 current and retired U.S. firefighters, the prevalence estimates of suicidal idealization, plans, and attempts were 47%, 19%, and 16%, respectively.
Compared to lifetime rates of idealizations, plans, and attempts of 14%, 4%, and 5% among the general U.S. population.
A study of veterans recently found that lower treatment utilization derives from higher perceived public stigma of seeking treatment.
A 2018 study of firefighters found that perceived barriers to treatment accessibility (30%) and concerns about potential stigma (34%) were reasons for not receiving PTSD treatment.
One of the most important protective factors found was having social support available either at home or through work.
It has also been found that having effective coping strategies available may lessen the impact of experiencing multiple traumatic events.
After a traumatic experience, the mind and the body are in shock. But as you make sense of what happened and process your emotions, you start to come out of it.
With PTSD, however, you remain in psychological shock. Your memory of what happened and your feelings about it are disconnected. In order to move on, it’s important to face and feel your memories and emotions.
A cultural shift (“it’s okay not to be okay”) is widely acknowledged as necessary before emergency responders will take advantage of peer counseling services.
Sources: 2015 Journal of Emergency Medical Services; 2015 Stanley, Hom, Hagan, & Joiner; 2015 Kulesza M, Pedersen E, Corrigan P, Marshall G; 2018 Kim et al.; 2015 Abbot et al.; 2017 Boffa et al.