As a first responder, you see humanity at its worst and represent humanity at its best. Whether you’re an ER doctor, paramedic, firefighter, or police officer, your commitment to your fellow man and courage gives people hope.
You run into burning buildings and respond to everything from robberies to natural disasters. From the outside looking in, you seem invincible. In reality, you do this work because you feel deeply, because you want to help people, and because there is goodness in this world and you are determined to show it.
The truth about PTSD in First Responders:
Job stresses, including high-pressure work environment and long hours, combined with the tragedies you face head-on can sometimes cause flashbacks, numbness, guilt, and anger—all classic symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In some cases, it can send you spiraling into addiction and even end in death.
I know what you’re thinking. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard a client say they just need to toughen up or they should just deal with it. That’s what everyone at work says, right?
They are wrong.
Here are the cold statistics about mental health, PTSD, and first responders.
- No one knows what percentage of first responders have PTSD. Some studies suggest it’s as few as 5%. Others claim that 29% of first responders have PTSD.
- First responders are more likely to develop a mental health condition such as depression or PTSD than the average person.
- First responders are 10 times more likely to attempt suicide than the general population.
- In a 2017 survey, 39% of first responders said they’d faced negative consequences at work if they asked for help with their mental health.
Those numbers are frightening, but you are not a statistic. Population studies and surveys reflect the past, not the present or the future. Over the years, I’ve seen workplace attitudes regarding mental health change. Seeking help is no longer a sign of weakness. It is a sign of strength.
How can do I know if I have PTSD?
Do you constantly feel on edge? Are you having trouble sleeping? Do you experience vivid nightmares or flashbacks about an event? Do you feel numb or detached? If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you may have PTSD. Call me today and schedule your evaluation.
Visit this page from Veterans Affairs Canada to learn about PTSD and its symptoms.
What if I decide to leave my PTSD untreated?
Typically, it gets worse. Your job performance will decline. You may put yourself or others at risk of injury or even death.
People depend on you. Treating your PTSD makes you more dependable and worthy of their trust. Let’s get started. Call my Edmonton office today.
Can PTSD be prevented?
Yes and no. In recent years, Edmonton’s police and fire services have implemented PTSD prevention plans. There is some evidence that these policies, which include education and risk management initiatives, help. However, it’s important to understand that these “prevention” plans actually teach you how to identify the signs and symptoms of PTSD. They don’t prevent PTSD itself. They help you recognize and address it earlier.
PTSD and Natural Disasters
Following a natural disaster like a wildfire or tornado, we see a surge in PTSD cases among both the general population and first responders. These are devastating events. It is not uncommon for the first responders to also be victims. If you’ve responded to one of these catastrophic events, I strongly recommend that you go beyond your basic trauma training and find a trusted therapist who can help you tackle any traumatic memories you may have.
We offer PTSD Support for First Responders, call me to book a consultation
Don’t let PTSD stop you from following your dreams. Schedule your consultation today.
All meetings are private and confidential.