SUICIDE RATES AMONG FIRST RESPONDERS IS 20% HIGHER THAN THE GENERAL POPULATION
According to The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental health Services Administration, a whopping 30% of First Responders develop behavioral health conditions, including depression & other symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD can lead to suicide. More first responders die by committing suicide than in the line of duty.
This is a nationally recognized problem, as featured on a recent edition of NBC’s Nightly News.
Repeated exposure to traumatic events can cause emotional distress. Mental Health services are often made available to first responders, but many do not take advantage. Some are concerned about the stigma of asking for help. Others worry about being perceived as weak in a profession that honors their strength.
Suicide can cause devastating effects on family members, colleagues, and the community. There are usually warning signs before a first responder commits suicide, but you must know what to look for. Among the top 5 warning signs are depression, isolation, giving away possessions, change in sleep pattern and increased alcohol or drug use, according to Dr. Guy Jeanty.
Psychotherapist Dr. Guy Jeanty specializes in PTSD and its impact on First Responders. Law Enforcement agencies call Dr. Jeanty to counsel agents, police, and firefighters, at the scenes of natural disasters, school shootings, etc. He is the author of the First Responders: Tactics of Personal Resilience and has just released his online course to help people recognize and deal with the symptoms of PTSD. Guy C. Jeanty, Ph.D., LMHC, LMFT, SAP operates a mental health practice in Davies, Fl.
Dr. Jeanty holds Suicide Prevention workshops across the nation for police departments, rescue workers, firefighters, EMS workers, and U.S. Custom and Border Patrol.
He collaborated with the U. S. Customs and Border Protection’s Traumatic Incidents & Events Response Team after the Fort Lauderdale airport shooting to assist airport staff in managing the effects of the trauma. Dr. Jeanty was recommended and assisted the U. S. Customs and Border Protection agents/officers in the Florida Keys after hurricane Irma, and he was also sought out for deployment to Puerto Rico after the devastation of hurricane Maria, serving agents/officers in Aguadilla and San Juan