It's Never Too Late To Ask For Help

image35

Speak Up

 As first responders we have a lot of pride and because of that we feel like we can never show weakness. We see the unimaginable day in and day out and after a bad call we just push our feelings aside and we move on to the next one. We get so caught up in looking hard on the outside we fail to admit that we are falling apart on the inside. 


In addition, we worry about asking for help or talking about what we are going through because of either how our co-workers will look at us and/or it affecting our careers. Those of us who are veteran first responders have seen at some point in our career, a fellow first responder pushed out of the department for seeking help. 


The stigma within the first responder community has to end. Change cannot happen until we start speaking up, asking for help and looking out for our fellow brothers and sisters. Nobody understands what you're going through more than the people within our own departments. It's time to stand up and fight for our own well being as well as the well being of our brothers and sisters!


Please don't wait until you're  at the point of severe depression or contemplating suicide to get help. We have resources available to you that are FREE and COMPLETELY CONFIDENTIAL. All it takes is a call or even an email to reach out to us. Please let us help you. We have lost too many officers this year. We do not want to add your name to that. 


 It is time to de-stigmatize mental health and well being within our first responder community. Wanting to reduce suicides is one thing--accomplishing it is another. It can only happen when mental health becomes a priority and all ranks accept the means as necessary to accomplishing the end. Saying, “Get help when you need it” isn't enough anymore. We need to say, “Get help BEFORE you need it”.  



PTSI Signs & Symptoms

  

PTSI is diagnosed after a person experiences symptoms for at least one month following a traumatic event. However symptoms may not appear until several months or even years later. The injury is characterized by three main types of symptoms:


  • Re-experiencing the trauma through intrusive distressing recollections of the event, flashbacks, and nightmares.
  • Emotional numbness and avoidance of places, people, and activities that are reminders of the trauma.
  • Increased arousal such as difficulty sleeping and concentrating, feeling jumpy, and being easily irritated and angered.

 

Diagnosis criteria for adults 


 Exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violation:


  • Directly experiencing the traumatic events 
  • Witnessing, in person, the traumatic events
  • Learning that the traumatic events occurred to a close family member or close friend; cases of actual or threatened death must have been violent or accidental
  • Experiencing repeated or extreme exposure to aversive details of the traumatic events (Examples are first responders collecting human remains; police officers repeatedly exposed to details of child abuse). Note: This does not apply to exposure through electronic media, television, movies, or pictures, unless exposure is work-related.


The presence of one or more of the following:


  • Spontaneous or cued recurrent, involuntary, and intrusive distressing memories of the traumatic events
  • Recurrent distressing dreams in which the content or affect (i.e. feeling) of the dream is related to the events
  • Flashbacks or other dissociative reactions in which the individual feels or acts as if the traumatic events are recurring
  • Intense or prolonged psychological distress at exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic events
  • Physiological reactions to reminders of the traumatic events


Screen yourself or a family member for PTSI


Persistent avoidance of distressing memories, thoughts, or feelings about or closely associated with the traumatic events or of external reminders (i.e., people, places, conversations, activities, objects, situations)


Two or more of the following:


  • Inability to remember an important aspect of the traumatic events (not due to head injury, alcohol, or drugs)
  • Persistent and exaggerated negative beliefs or expectations about oneself, others, or the world (e.g., “I am bad,” “No one can be trusted,” "The world is completely dangerous"). 
  • Persistent, distorted blame of self or others about the cause or consequences of the traumatic events
  • Persistent fear, horror, anger, guilt, or shame
  • Markedly diminished interest or participation in significant activities
  • Feelings of detachment or estrangement from others
  • Persistent inability to experience positive emotions


Two or more of the following marked changes in arousal and reactivity:


  • Irritable or aggressive behavior
  • Reckless or self-destructive behavior
  • Hypervigilance
  • Exaggerated startle response
  • Problems with concentration
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep


Also, clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning not attributed to the direct physiological effects of medication, drugs, or alcohol or another medical condition, such as traumatic brain injury.