What we have done for ourselves dies with us,
What we have done for others is Immortal
For first responders, maintaining optimum mental wellness is a critical part of remaining active and effective on the job as well as at home. Constant exposure to trauma, life-threatening situations, and the physical strain of working long hours on little to no sleep can negatively impact overall mental health, increasing the vulnerability and risk of substance abuse and addiction.
For first responders, and their families, the stigma against mental health issues can be an obstacle to treatment. Not wanting to call attention to their struggle and preferring instead to focus on the job, many in the profession do not want to acknowledge that they might be in need of treatment or that their symptoms may be complicating their ability to function physically and/or mentally.
Law enforcement officers, firefighters, paramedics, and other first responders must continually see the worst of human experience. The ravaging effects of fire, the emotional and physical damage caused by accidents and abuse, the threat of personal attack, constant stress, and an inability to save everyone starts to take it's toll.
Additionally, long shifts, working with others who are similarly struggling with mental health disorders, difficulties at home, and other personal issues can all contribute to the high rates of the mental health disorders commonly diagnosed among first responders.
There are different manifestations of post-traumatic stress disorder, and not all people who may be living with the disorder will exhibit the same symptoms. Exposure to significant trauma – like the experiences that could happen on any given shift for a first responder – are known to trigger the different types of PTSD.
Our mission is to bring awareness to PTSD and suicide prevention and to show our First Responders, Military and their families that they are never alone.
©2015 S.A.F.E.R. Initiative is a Not for Profit 501(c)3 Foundation