What do you think of when you hear 'emergency.' Most people will answer 'first responders.' This is only natural since these are the people who are usually the first on the scene. They are the first to respond to any call for help. In fact, they are often our first line of defense against many horrific situations. Police, Firefighters, EMTs, Paramedics, and other first responders are heroes. We see them as pillars of our communities, exemplifying the ultimate in strength and bravery. You could be forgiven for thinking these men and women are invincible. However, the sad truth is that there is so much more about first responders that we do not see. In a 2017 study commissioned by the University of Phoenix, some very concerning facts and figures emerged about our heroic first responders. They are topping the charts when it comes to mental health disorders.
Let's take a look at some of the key figures from the study:
- 80% of the firefighters who responded to the study said that they had been exposed to a traumatic event in the line of duty.
- Over 90% of Police and EMTs have reported being exposed to a traumatic event.
- Only 49% of first responders said they were offered some kind of psychological first aid following a traumatic experience.
- 85% of first responders who participated said they were experiencing mental health issues.
- 69% said that mental health services are seldom or never utilized at their organization.
- 39% of the respondents said that they believed there would be negative repercussions for seeking mental health help at work.
These are just some of the figures that came out of the report. Still, the overall takeaway is that although some of the first responders knew that their organization did have resources available, the stigma surrounding mental health is discouraging many of them from getting the help they need.
Take a more in-depth look at the study HERE.