First responders are rewarded for their bravery, courage and effort towards keeping our communities safe.
They are faced with extreme situations which can sometime result in personal injury. We often recognize their physical injuries such as broken bones or cuts and bruises but we tend to forget about the injuries first responders may face to their mental well-being.
Research has shown that first responders including paramedics, police and firefighters have a greater risk for Acute Stress Disorder (ASD) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), with statistics showing that an estimated 22% of all paramedics may develop PTSD (Suicide Info).
Today is World Mental Health Day. We’d like to encourage you to make yourselves aware of the signs and symptoms related to PTSD and ASD.
Know the signs
Being aware of the signs and symptoms of PTSD and ASD will help you better identify and support yourself, your coworkers or your loved ones. Some common symptoms and behaviours include:
- Dissociation from the self - emotional numbing, reduced awareness of one's surroundings, depersonalization, amnesia
- Re-experiencing the traumatic event (spontaneous memories; flashbacks)
- Avoiding distressing thoughts, feelings, or external reminders of the event
- Blaming self or others due to distorted sense of reality
- Loss of interest in activities
- Inability to remember key aspects of the traumatic event
- Aggressive, reckless, or self-destructive behavior
- Sleep disturbances
Source: Suicide Info.
Where to go for help
Check out the resources below to learn where you can to turn for help:
- Find a local crisis centre here.
- Find mental health information, tools and resources here.
- Canada’s primary source of information on government and community based health and social services
- The MHFA Canada program aims to improve mental health literacy, and provide the skills and knowledge to help people better manage potential or developing mental health problems in themselves, a family member, a friend or a colleague
- Call toll free: 1-866-989-3985
- Call toll free: 1-800-565-8603
For more, visit Global News resources.