By Libby Timmons, National Clinical Outreach Director
Police, firefighters, EMS workers and other first responders see more tragedy and despair in an average day than people in most professions. And they are sometimes unaware of how it affects their mental health.
Each day, first responders are faced with many forms of extreme stress including life-and-death decisions, human suffering, separation from family and intense risk-taking. While those in this profession have chosen this lifestyle and wouldn’t have it any other way, it’s a high-stress career that can lead to both physical and emotional injuries.
Emergency medical technicians, fire fighters, paramedics, police officers and other first responders are required to remain in control of their emotions at all times. There is no time for on-the-job meltdowns, and many in these helping professions force themselves to be calm and in control even when experiencing a great deal of emotional turbulence. Continue reading
First responders are the first to arrive at the scene of a traumatic event, such as an accident, domestic disturbance, fire or natural disaster. They are faced with violence, pain, suffering and sometimes death. For police officers, fire fighters, paramedics and emergency medical technicians, witnessing human suffering is part of each day’s work.
By Victoria Delheimer, LMFT, LCMHC, CDWF, CCTP, Executive/Clinical Director for Journey Healing Centers, with Laurie Sue Brockway
Studies have shown that exposure to child abuse is a strong predictor of substance abuse. The self-esteem and resiliency of child abuse victims can be permanently damaged by their terrifying and painful experiences, and a significant number may attempt to cope with their feelings of powerlessness by turning to drugs or alcohol.
The experience of a childhood trauma can result in many lasting effects, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression. Those who experience childhood trauma may also be more likely to engage in risky behaviors such as drug use or other dangerous behavior patterns. Continue reading