41 29TH ANNUAL CRIME PREVENTION GUIDE First Responder,Trauma and PTSD continued family dysfunction, negative work-site interactions/bullying, substance use /abuse, PTSD, and toxic stress. Over time, ongoing toxic stress leads to increased rates of heart disease, cancer, arthritis, diabetes, and other medical illnesses. Most concerning, the suicide rate for EMT/paramedics and police is very much higher than the general population. The Suffering Spreads Shift-work, chronic sleep deprivation, self-medication with drugs and alcohol along with sometimes toxic work environments, may further confound natural healing processes. Over time, these behaviors may result in First Responders withdrawing from family members.As a result, families of police, firefighters, EMT/paramedics and other First Responders experience a high rates of marital problems and family breakdown. It is important that the families and spouses of First Responders also have easy access to high quality mental health services. PTSD In First Responders FormallyAcknowledged In 2013 a section regarding PostTraumatic Stress Disorder was added to the Fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5), otherwise known as the diagnostic 'bible' of mental illness. This new section was specifically designed to recognize the negative psychological impact First Responders' work has on their mental well-being. Now there is recognition that repeated exposure to traumatic events, or details about those events can cause the same amount of mental harm as directly experiencing the event. First Responders deserve Expert Help Treating First Responders is not like treating members of the general population. Psychologists and therapists who work with First Responders need to know the culture, humour, and mindset of this community to provide therapy that is meaningful.The last thing a First Responder needs is a therapist who becomes distressed at a police officers description of a murder scene, or a paramedic's dark joke about a patient.What may be normal or unremarkable for a First Responder may vary significantly from the civilian population, and a good First Responder therapist will understand. Because many First Responders often will not seek psychological help until they are struggling in several areas of their life, it is crucial that psychologists, therapists, and counsellors working with the First Responder community have extensive experience and training in a wide rage of expertise.Treating clinicians must to be able to understand how shift-work and the associated sleep disruptions impact stress tolerance and eating habits. The therapist must be able to grasp how home-life struggles may influence on the job performance. They must be more than competent at treating co-morbid addictions, trauma, and mental health issues. And, of course, all treatment must be tailored to address any historical challenges (e.g. negative childhood events, prior poor relationships, etc.) that have reemerged due to the First Responder's current distress. First Responders are Not Alone Call the Island Helpline at 1-800-218-2885 if you are in a crisis, feeling depressed or thinking about suicide. Call 9-1-1 in an emergency NEED HELP?