Have you been more irritable, on edge, or withdrawn from others lately? Do you have a constant stream of negative thoughts running through your head? Are you feeling like everything is your fault or you’re a failure? Are you drinking more, overeating, or sleeping more than usual in your free time? Have you lost interest in things you used to enjoy?
If you’re a first responder, your work culture expects you to be “strong,” “suck it up,” and get right back out there on the job- even after you just got back from a call that shook you to the core. Let me just remind you that despite those expectations, you’re human, so you can’t be expected to do all that without being emotionally taxed. My heart goes out to all the first responders out there who are struggling.
Did you know that first responder suicides outnumber line of duty deaths? In addition, a 2015 study estimated that 30% of first responders suffer from a mental health condition, compared to 20% of the general population. The stress and demands of the job combined with the stigma and fears attached to seeking support for mental health makes this population particularly vulnerable to conditions such as depression and PTSD.
If you’ve been experiencing any of the symptoms described above or on my other pages (Homepage, Services, or Counseling for Trauma), you may qualify to work with me for free without having to go through your job or EAP. I understand many of the unique challenges, culture, and barriers to treatment from my experience working with first responders and through networking with the SC FAST (Firefighter Assistance and Support Team) as well as LEAP (Law Enforcement Assistance Program). Your confidentiality is of utmost importance to me and I’m happy to answer any questions or concerns you might have.
It’s hard to reach out for help, I get it! If you’re like many others I’ve worked with, you want to be great at your job and have healthy relationships. Prioritizing yourself and your own well being will enable you to be the best you can be in every other area of your life. Reach out to learn more.
*If you are interested in family therapy with someone who specializes in working with First Responders, please reach out to my colleague, Cansas Goller, LPC.*