Why First Responders May Be Suffering in Silence

July 14, 2020

To our first responders, "Thank you!" 

Dealing with traumatic and life-threatening events is part of the job description of a first responder. Yet, frequent and constant exposure can cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The events of Covid-19 are perfect conditions for PTSD to form. So how can we help our heroes avoid suffering in silence? 

A first responder's job affects them both mentally and physically. When disasters hit, they may not recognize the adverse effects they're experiencing. As a result, it is common for first responders to experience depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

However, some may not recognize the signs of PTSD. Others may not know where or how to get help. Furthermore, many deny there is an issue. As a result, our first responders often suffer in silence. Some are turning to substance abuse or trying to deal with a chemical imbalance on their own. However, there is a way to help first responders heal their trauma. It may require working with a therapist.

In this article, we'll show you warning signs to look for, which may indicate your first responder may be suffering in silence. 


First Responders Can Experience Traumatic Events Daily

Trauma can form after a person experiences an intensely stressful or life-threatening event. The event can leave severe emotional, physical, or psychological wounds behind. 

An estimated 30% of our first responders develop conditions that severely impact their way of life. Depression, anxiety, and PTSD are common conditions they develop. However, they don't have to live with the debilitating effects of PTSD forever. 

With help from 11th Hour Trauma Retreat LLC, first responders can begin to live life as they once knew it. Through the steps of recovery, 11th Hour Trauma Retreat helps to create awareness of their psychological responses. The process of healing allows them to move past their traumas.

How likely is it that the first responders you love are suffering from trauma?

Most people are surprised to hear the first responder they love is suffering. According to a recent study, 44.5% of first responders report they suffer from at least one mental disorder. The good news is, your loved one doesn't need to suffer in silence. You can help. It all starts with awareness. 

In 2017, a study by the Ruderman Family Foundation, found more first responders die by suicide than they do on the job. The study results also show depression and PTSD can be nearly five times higher in first responders, than the general public. 

The study also shows many first responders are likely to resist seeking mental health care due to stigmatization. Likewise, many first responders deny there is even a problem. Consequently, the denial or resistance is likely connected to a fear of being discriminated against. As a result, first responders often suffer in silence. 

If you notice your first responder family and home life, they may be feeling the effects of their demanding job. Voicing your concern may help them recognize they may need help. 

Ideas to help first responders

Once you recognize there is a problem, coming up with a plan together may be helpful. Communicating your concern may validate what they are feeling. 

  • Help create awareness. Being aware of the effects of unresolved trauma may help first responders feel more inclined to open up. 
  • Develop a self-care plan. Avoiding burnout is vital to our mental health. Taking breaks, eating nutritious meals, and getting sleep all contribute to mental health. 
  • Help encourage them to attend mental health and resilience training. Any opportunity they have to talk to a professional about what they are experiencing can be beneficial. 

First responders are essential workers. As such, helping them heal from their trauma is also essential. At 11th Hour Trauma Retreat, we are working hard to help our first responders heal and continue doing the job they love. 

Where to find the best trauma recovery retreat?

At 11th Hour Trauma Retreat, we understand the complexities of  trauma. We have both experience and expertise in  trauma treatment. Likewise, we believe self-care plays a significant role in the healing process. We'd love to help you. 

The 11th Hour Trauma Retreat serves first responders and military personnel on a referral basis, working with therapists, doctors, police departments, fire departments and other public agencies to provide people with the care they need. 

Do you know a friend, family member or co-worker struggling with job-related trauma?

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