First responder wellness in Utah

The Importance of Prioritizing First Responder Wellness

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First responders like police officers, firefighters, correction officers, dispatchers, and EMS technicians have an extremely difficult job, filled with traumatic events like accidents, catastrophic injuries, violence, and death. Unless meaningful steps are taken to prioritize first responder wellness and treat symptoms of trauma early, exposure to these events can lead to more serious mental health issues like PTSD, anxiety, depression, or substance abuse. Here are a few strategies that you can use to make sure that wellness is a top priority at your organization.

Encourage Open and Honest Discussions About Mental Health

Too often, there is a stigma around mental health issues that prevents those who are suffering from seeking help. This is even more true for first responders, who are expected to be tough, resilient, and stoic. Encourage your personnel to discuss any challenges they are facing with co-workers, supervisors, or a professional so that they can get the treatment they need.

Learn to Recognize the Symptoms of Trauma

Even with proper encouragement, it can be difficult for first responders to discuss the challenges they are facing. That is why it is important for colleagues and supervisors to be trained in and to recognize the symptoms of trauma so that they can intervene to help their co-workers if needed. Encourage your team to be on the lookout for common symptoms of mental health issues like social withdrawal, substance abuse, irrational fear, anxiety, unexplained aggression, or a dulling of emotions.

Encourage Beneficial Behavior

Staying healthy, both physically and emotionally, can have a huge positive impact on mental health. Encourage your team to get plenty of exercise, eat right, sleep properly, and spend quality time away from the job. Help them manage stress more effectively through techniques like deep breathing, meditation, yoga, and other mindfulness exercises.

Create a Flexible Return-to-Work Policy

Every person responds differently to traumatic events. When a team member is exposed to something traumatic, make sure they have enough time to properly heal by instituting a flexible return-to-work policy. This ensures that there is no pressure to return too early and that he or she is fully healed, rested, and confident when the time is right to return to service.

Trauma Treatment Facilities in Utah

A huge part of prioritizing first responder wellness is getting those who suffer from trauma the help they need when they need it. Our team at Deer Hollow can help. Located in Draper, just outside Salt Lake City, we offer a full range of outpatient, residential, and telehealth treatments for trauma, PTSD, depression, anxiety, and more. We use proven, evidence-based techniques that help to identify and treat trauma effectively, and we feature peaceful facilities in rural locations that help the healing process.

To learn more about our trauma treatment programs or to schedule a visit to our facilities, call (888) 5WE-KNOW today.