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By Allison G. S. Knox
Contributor, EDM Digest

In the last few years, interest groups and nonprofit organizations have created educational awareness programs that focus on a specific day or month to highlight their importance. January, for example, is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

The holiday season can be a difficult time emotionally for some people. Mental health professionals know this is especially true for those who have experienced a traumatic event, a personal loss or are alone. That’s why the holiday season is a great time to showcase the importance of mental health services for first responders.

First Responders Often Struggle with PTSD around the Holidays

First responders have an increasingly difficult time with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) around Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year holidays. This should come as no surprise, considering the numerous traumatic events they experience on an almost daily basis.

The Journal of Pre-Hospital Emergency Care notes, “Certain professions, including law enforcement and EMS are exposed to high degrees of workplace stress, therefore it is hypothesized that these individuals are more predisposed to conditions including anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation and behaviors.”

That is why mental health professionals emphasize PTSD awareness, education and mental healthcare to help public safety professionals get the appropriate help they need. This awareness helps to make a difference in first responders’ well-being.

By Dr. Jarrod Sadulski

Fortunately, active shooter events are still rare in the U.S., but law enforcement officers should still take steps to prepare for being involved in one. This requires not only tactical training, but also emotional preparation, which should include creating a recovery plan.

By Brad Bouchillon

Vicarious trauma is when trauma is experienced secondhand, and it is more likely to affect individuals who dedicate themselves to helping others. Learn more about who is susceptible to vicarious trauma and how those in high-risk professions can protect themselves.