First Responders: Building Resilience to Overcome Trauma
Description: Over the past decade, more and more attention has been focused on the mental health of our first responders, who often sacrifice their own well-being to help others in need. When a call comes in, they jump into action, without hesitation. On the other side of that, if they are struggling with the weight of their experiences in the line of duty, they often choose to put their own needs on the back burner. We are continually learning more about the brain and how we process trauma, including repeated exposure trauma and how this type of cognitive injury can impact individuals. There has been an abundance of research as of late that has shown how higher levels of resilience in individuals (and building resilience) can significantly impact or thwart the negative effects of trauma on the first responder population. As we continue to see rates of PTSD, depression and suicide in this population increasing at an alarming rate, there is now more reason than ever to find a way to help those who have dedicated their life to helping others. Fortunately, resilience is something that can be built and the steps to do so are easier than we may think. If we can help first responders better understand what is happening in their body and in their minds, as well as how they can take steps to influence their brain’s response to trauma, the hope is that we will not only see a reduction in the rate of suicides in this population, but we will also see many of them break free of the burden that they once carried with them every day.
- Understand how repeated exposure trauma can significantly impact mental health, oftentimes more so than large, catastrophic events (which can also be very detrimental to mental health).
- Understand how trauma affects the brain and how resilience factors can counter those effects.
- Explain simple strategies that contribute to building resilience and countering the stress response.
- Know how to recognize symptoms of trauma in oneself or others, and where one can seek out resources.