Public safety personnel are at an increased risk for stress related issues, including PTSD. While PTSD is linked to trauma exposure, not everyone who experiences or is exposed to trauma will have symptoms severe enough to warrant a diagnosis of PTSD. Often times, however, public safety personnel may instead experience chronic stress in response to repeated trauma exposure.
Family members and loved ones of fire fighters have one of the most important roles in the fire service - being the support to someone who spends his/her time saving others.
An awesome news article was released today highlighting CBS News' recent visit with the IAFF Center of Excellence. The article showcases the Center of Excellence's resources for members seeking help with substance abuse, PTSD, and other behavioral health issues!
Or, view the following video.
In a recent white paper published by Ruderman Family Foundation (Heyman, Dill, & Douglas, 2018), it was revealed that firefighters and police officers are more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty.The research paper provides statistics for firefighter and police suicides within the past year in comparison to line of duty deaths for each population. More specificially, the paper focuses on trauma exposure and some common resulting consequences, including depression, anxiety, PTSD, and suicide, if left untreated.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health issue that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. After being involved in traumatic events themselves or witnessing traumatic events, it is common for most people to experience symptoms like upsetting memories, bad memories, and trouble sleeping (ptsd.va.gov). However, if the symptoms continue longer than a month or several months, a diagnosis of PTSD is possible and you would want to meet with a mental health provider for accurate assessment and diagnosis.
We’ve all heard the word “mindfulness” being thrown around lately as if it’s a new trend. The truth is, the practice of mindfulness has been around for quite some time! Traditionally and historically practiced in Western cultures, the practice of mindfulness has been shown to have numerous benefits. Mindfulness, depending on who you ask, can have several meanings. However, at the most basic level, the concept of mindfulness simply means intentionally and purposefully paying attention to the present moment without judgment (Kabat-Zinn, 1994, as cited in Williams, 2017).
Check out this PowerPoint presentation from the Fairfax County Fire & Rescue. According to the presentation, the fire fighter population is at high risk for suicide, with divorce, trauma, and stress being common risk factors.