First responders are faced with a myriad of stressors that go beyond what the general population may experience. The phrase “fit for duty” for first responders has historically only accounted for good physical health for the duties related to one’s job. However, recent evidence-based research indicates that maintaining one’s behavioral health is equally important. The challenge has been to breakdown the stigma related to behavioral health due to lack of education, fear and misunderstanding.
The effects of first responder stress events can factor into behavioral health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse and depression. Resources available today, like Stress First Aid, address the unique stressors related to first responders and build on the strengths of first responders, including a sense of belonging, support from one another and a strong sense of purpose.