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​PTSD and First Responders - Shell shock within the EMS field

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  When you think of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), what group of individuals do you first think of? For most of you (myself included) we originally associated PTSD with War Veterans, the medical community used to call it “shell shock” or “battle fatigue syndrome” and that typically is our introduction to this issue.

  We picture war veterans who had to kill people for our county, who held their friends as they died in their arms, who relive those traumatic memories on regular intrusive basis. Hollywood has done an excellent job recreating these scenes, so pick a war scene in a movie and picture yourself within. How would you cope, imagine how it changes a person’s outlook on life. Fortunately, wars eventually come to an end, and the veterans get to come home.

  Most people who experience a traumatic event will have reactions that may include shock, anger, nervousness, fear, and even guilt. These reactions are common, and for most people, they go away over time. For a person with PTSD, however, these feelings continue and even increase, becoming so strong that they keep a person from living a normal life. People with PTSD have symptoms for longer than one month and cannot function as well as before the event occurred.

  However, as I am sure you're aware, PTSD can happen to basically anyone who experiences a traumatic event that threatens death or violence. As PTSD has become more prolific in the public eye, we have accepted victims of rape or violence experiencing symptoms of PTSD too. But what would you do if you had to experience life threatening scenarios and dealt with death on a regular basis. What if you couldn’t go “home” to escape these issues as our war veterans are able too?

  Unfortunately, there is a group of people within our country that does deal with traumatic, life threatening situations on a daily basis. This same group of people actually place themselves in these situations, voluntarily. They do it not for the reasons most people think, it’s not for personal glory or to accrue great wealth, they do it because it saves lives. The group I am talking about is our First Responders, The Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Firefighters and Law Enforcement Officers.

  The First Responders who suffer from PTSD, typically don’t have an outlet to vent too, the support system in place for this group is almost non-existent and because of the macho bravado nature of the jobs, it’s not something typically discussed amongst peers in the break room, if they even have access to one.

  This amazing video was put together by Ashley Fletcher, and we wanted to share this video as it highlights an area of concern within our public service sector (First Responders).

PTSD can be difficult to get through on your own, it helps when there is an outlet to share, as this video shows.

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