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Resilience Program offers hope to first responders

It is estimated that 30% of first responders develop behavioral health conditions.

High-stress jobs are often linked with professions such as first responders and law enforcement. These professions not only expose individuals to high levels of stress but also raise the risk of developing depression and PTSD.

It is estimated that 30% of first responders develop behavioral health conditions, such as depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is higher than the 20% rate of the general population. This is due to the inherent hazards and demands of their work, which can take a significant toll on their mental and emotional well-being.

Although professionals are trained to handle sensitive situations, teaching them how to process their emotions properly after a traumatic event can be challenging.

“People in these professions often do not know how to transition from their job to their normal life. There is a disconnect that leads to coping skills that can have a negative effect, like substance use, repressions, or acting out,” said Caroline Golko, Outpatient Mental Health Therapist for Rosecrance Therapies.

First responders often face a significant obstacle when it comes to their mental health – the belief that they can’t discuss what they’re going through, Golko said. They commonly feel that they knowingly accepted the risks associated with their job when they signed up for it. They view their work as a conscious choice and understand that they will encounter distressing situations regularly.

“The disconnect is that it minimizes their experience and makes them think that because they decided to sign the contract to be a first responder, they have to deal with it on their own,” Golko said.

Much like the protective gear first responders wear to keep themselves safe when responding to a call, building resiliency is a proactive step that those who work in a high-stress profession prone to challenging situations can take to protect themselves. Building the ability to overcome stress, psychological adversity, and disruptive events can help manage emotional health and help prevent burnout and negative mental health.

“Working on your resilience for the difficult experiences you have at work is a great way to ensure that when you’re called to respond, you can give 100%,” Golko said. Resiliency is a muscle. If you work out and train your muscles to do it, the stronger they get. If you don’t train them, it leads to atrophy. Resilience is the same thing.”

For those who continue to struggle, Rosecrance Therapies offers hope to first responders, law enforcement, veterans, and other frontline workers through the Resilience Program. The program includes residential and outpatient treatment, along with peer support and sober living opportunities. Learn more about the program by calling 888.928.5278.

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