Police officers, paramedics and firefighters are the first people to arrive at traumatic scenes. Their in-depth training programs and professionalism allow the rest of us to step back, take a breath, and set the problem into someone else's hands. We are always relieved when they arrive, like superheroes ready to save the day.
It goes without saying that first responder's jobs are fraught with danger, stress and disappointment. We can only imagine how a paramedic must feel when a case is too far gone to be saved. We cannot guess how a police officer feels when he or she faces the lowest kinds of human beings on a daily basis. The dangerous blasts of heat and hazardous gases to the face of firefighters is something we'll (hopefully) never know. All that tension, challenge and disappointment comes at a cost to mental health.
How Susceptible Are First Responders to Mental / Behavioral Health Problems?
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) roughly 30 percent of first responders will develop a behavioral health problem like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or depression. Compare that to the average US population, of which only 20 percent will face these struggles.
What Can Be Done?
Mental health should be made a priority for our first responders. San Diego is one of the first counties to offer free mental and behavioral health services to these local heroes, as reported by Fox 5 News San Diego.
- Nathan Fletcher, County Supervisor, proposed the free program in November, 2019.
- The Fire Captain Ryan J. Mitchell First Responder Behavioral Health Support Program will provide a confidential outlet, mental and behavioral health support, and counseling by connecting first responders with professional via a dedicated phone line, smartphone app or website.
- The program is named in honor of California Fire Captain Ryan Mitchell, who took his own life in 2017.
Our Role at Staffing Plus
At Staffing Plus, our mission is to match the right professionals to the best positions. Sometimes the best thing medical professionals and first responders can do to improve their emotional health is a change of scenery. Burnout is a real risk in these industries, which can lead to depression, self-medication, and even forms of self-harm. Contact us if you'd like to know more about our staffing options for healthcare professionals.
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