First Responders face hardships that most of us will never have to know, including coping with line of duty death or injury, responding to the death of a child or friend or family member, working the scene of multiple fatalities, being in a life-threatening situation, helping people with serious illnesses and injuries, and being exposed to infectious disease.
First Responders face trauma day in and day out, and it takes a toll.
Omaha police and firefighters say the homicides and fatal accidents they encounter on the job can stay with them for months or even years afterward. There is not “one” event that is the event.
In 2016, 267 local paramedics serviced 45,733 dispatches. That’s 45,733 times emergency services were needed. Imagine the scenarios encountered.
First Responders need support to handle job-related trauma, especially post-traumatic stress disorder, before it affects their careers, families and mental health. Stress can cause anxiety, depression, insomnia, GI and heart issues, and suicidal thoughts. There have been several cases of First Responders in Nebraska struggling with PTSD and committing suicide, and five police officers and one firefighter have applied for PTSD or mental health-related disability pensions in the last two years.
While support exists, not all First Responders are being reached, there are gaps in treatment, and more mental health resources are needed. Another barrier is that it can be difficult for First Responders – who are used to being pillars of strength – to reach out for help.
More education is needed for First Responders and their families regarding the effects of chronic stress from a career as a first responder and how to build resilience to help counteract the stress.
The First Responders Foundation helps First Responders struggling with PTSD and chronic stress by supporting local resources such as OPD’s and OFD’s peer support programs; sending First Responders and their families to seminars such as Kevin Gilmartin’s Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement; and funding other mental health services.
Your donation helps First Responders get the help they need to cope with job-related trauma. Together we can help take care of the people that we depend on in our greatest times of need.
Donate today and help support First Responders and their families coping with PTSD.