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First responders more likely to develop PTSD

First responders more likely to develop PTSD

BOISE, Idaho – Paramedics, EMTs, police officers, firefighters, and rescue workers are the first to respond to emergencies, and in many instances the first to the scene of a 9-1-1 call.

First responders have a variety of jobs that are both physically and emotionally demanding; Every day presents a new type of challenging, dangerous and potentially distressing situation.

it is estimated that 30% of first responders develop behavioral health conditions among them post Traumatic Stress Disorderor PTSD.

“We see people sometimes in their worst moments, and sometimes it’s hard to put a barrier between what they’re doing and helping them and not letting it get in on itself.” said Battalion Chief Jenny Wing Ada County Paramedics,

studies Ambulance personnel have been found to have a higher percentage of PTSD sufferers than the general population and other emergency workers.

Wing told me that she has seen an increase in conversations at work regarding behavioral health conditions.

In 2015, she started a peer support team. Paramedics going through a tough time can reach out to a colleague they feel comfortable with and receive support and guidance while connecting them with providers who can provide further assistance.

“Our problem is that people recognize how prevalent it is. When you look at the number of first responders, they estimate that 1-in-3 first responders will experience some form of post-traumatic stress disorder during their careers. The symptoms suffer,” said Dr. Parker Fillmore, St. Alphonse trauma medical director.

Acute stress and prolonged exposure to traumatic events can cause mental and emotional damage over time, and when left untreated, trauma often causes PTSD.

“It’s all about us recognizing the challenges they face in getting the patient to the right place at the right time, giving them the support they need to get the right care,” said Dr. Parker Fillmore. Dr. Parker Fillmore said.

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St. Alphonsus will host a workshop training Treasure Valley first responders on how to handle post-traumatic stress.

Learn more about how to sign up for the workshop here:

  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Workshops Offered to Idaho First Responders

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