The emergency services have to deal with the unthinkable every single day. From incidents involving children to personnel seeing their brethren succumb to cancer or other diseases; those who work in the emergency services know the risks they are taking when they apply for a job. They know what comes with the territory. Despite this, it doesn't make it any easier to handle the most tragic of emergency calls and deal with the loss of a partner or someone on their shift.
One of the biggest issues facing those working in the emergency services these days is that of mental health. Too many emergency services workers commit suicide every year. In fact, there were more firefighter suicides in 2017 than firefighter line of duty deaths. Police officers experienced the same numbers in 2017 too.
There were 103 firefighter suicides and 140 police officer suicides in 2017. Compare that to the 93 firefighter and 129 police officer line of duty deaths in the same year. First responders are five times more likely to suffer from post traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and other mental health issues than the general public.
Despite these statistics, there is little being done across the board to help first responders deal with the hardships of the job. Some departments are implementing mental health programs such as Safety Stand Down Training and hotlines where first responders can call when they need help with just about anything in life. The agencies implementing these features are few and far between.
Mental health in the emergency services is an important topic that should never be ignored. If you have a loved one who works as a firefighter, police officer, EMT, paramedic or emergency dispatcher you need to be on the lookout for the symptoms of PTSD. If your loved one exhibits any of these symptoms it is important to get them help immediately.
Contact the Hunter's Heroes Foundation to find out more about our goal to educate and motivate as many first responders as possible.