First Responders Face Mental Health Challenges

First responders provide critical services to communities in the aftermath of disasters, both natural and manmade. Their work can be dangerous, physically demanding, personally draining and heart-breaking, often involving long hours in difficult circumstances. Their exposure to traumatic events and devastating circumstances can lead to a range of health and mental health consequences, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), compassion fatigue and burnout. Studies have found that some 75 percent of rescue workers have mild symptoms of psychological trauma following a disaster. Several factors, including longer periods of deployment, inexperience, close contact with corpses and longer shifts, are associated with...

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