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Non-Crisis Support for First Responders: No Judgment and Confidential

Have you ever had too much stress at work? I mean, had the craziest thing that happened on your watch that you then were responsible for handling and writing up? Imagine further that you had about five things that week that were all well beyond average. Plus, not only is your spouse not talking to you about something, your kid has lost another cell phone and now your brother has just announced he needs to flop on your couch for a few weeks.

Firefighters - image courtesy of iStock

Let’s amplify this scenario a little: imagine you are a First Responder. You could easily receive a call that places you into a crisis like Sandy Hook Elementary School, a building collapse or another scene of devastation. It’s never that big event that makes us need more connection -- it’s everything else. It’s the balance of life in all its complexity.

Writing a post focusing on the emotional and mental health support outlets specific to First Responders was a bit challenging. The literature and articles in Canada and the United Kingdom were abundant and diverse. However, aside from suicide prevention, the content from the United States was a bit thin. That lack of domestic content may leave our emergency staffing feeling stigmatized when they need non-crisis support.

Mark Goldberg, Communications Specialist with California Casualty, looks at “Why it is so difficult for First Responders to seek help.” He feels that First Responders react this way due to their training, experiences, and beliefs. First Responders are trained to become confident and competent. They are shown the horrific things they will see and how it might affect their life. What they don’t discuss is how stress, anxiety, depression, loss of sleep, PTSD, and relationships issues are part of the job.

First responders such as firefighters, EMTs, doctors, nurses and law enforcement officials face horrors in their work that the majority of people can’t imagine. In serving everyday folks in the worst of times, they witness death, destruction, and the worst of what people will do to harm each other.

They work in a fast paced environment and have little time to process their emotions. As First Responders they are taught to maintain a clinical distance from the people they help. Most people that work in this type of field start out with this career because they care about others and want to help. The longer they are in the career the greater chance they will have a reaction to all the work-related stressors.

Many First Responders can easily identify the signs of PTSD, Depression, and Suicide in others. However, like most of us, it’s harder to apply the same assessment on oneself. Below are some resources for help and awareness.

This week, Let’s Check-In is focusing on First Responders and how we can support those first to serve. Regardless of discipline, their work can be stressful. We celebrate their bravery and provide a listening ear.

As a non-crisis service, Let’s Check-In is the ideal solution to blow off the steam of the day -- when work is rocky, when family is cranky and when life just is.

Check-In today: We’re All Ears!

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