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First responders on the front line of trauma

On Behalf of | Feb 14, 2023 | Workers' Compensation |

To say the work of first responders is challenging them would be the ultimate understatement. They do a job that most people could not imagine, putting themselves in continuing clear and present dangers to save lives.

The impact on family members cannot be ignored either. While loved ones worry, they also try to provide ongoing support. However, that love and compassion can only go so far.

Emotional and physical tolls

The trauma of what first responders see, hear, and experience takes its toll to the point of needing psychological help. Yet, ego gets in the way of that pursuit, fearing the stigma of so-called weakness. The limited number of clinicians trained in this area creates a “perfect storm” of potential mental health issues that can last for years.

The sheer lack of understanding of what first responders go through daily creates a sense of physical and emotional isolation. Far too often, the trauma leads to marriages ending, substance abuse, or feelings of betrayal towards their peers and employers.

High-stakes choices

The stakes are high when it comes to saving lives, not necessarily careers. Police officers and firefighters alone are two to three times more likely to commit suicide than to lose their lives in the line of duty. Many continue to ply their trades, while others have chosen medical leave. Others wrestle with the idea of either staying in their jobs or pursuing a new career.

The nature of what first responders do creates a stronger bond of trust with their peers above anyone, many times including family members. Loved ones also have their own trauma, struggling to understand the emotional toll on them. The burden is described as exhausting, if not outright frightening. Yet, may remain resolved to pick up the pieces and find peace.


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