CODE BLUE SUMMARY
With growing societal issues, the need for mental and emotional support for first responders and their families increases. First Responders daily face the pressures of fear that they have not done enough to save and rescue individuals in distress. Additionally, they face mounting disrespect from those they have been tasked to save and rescue, and to maintain order in difficult situations.
Families of First Responders send them out daily never knowing if they will return. Family life is often disrupted by emergency calls to report for work. Many spouses feel they are raising children alone. These families also endure the stress of belonging to a first responder, and also deserve support.
The above-named factors call for a need to acknowledge and support those whose mission it is to serve when there is an emergency. When they suffer, become overwhelmed, or become weary of the stress they endure then we all are in danger. The health of the men and women who serve as First Responders is vital to the safety and success of our society.
First Responders face physical, psychological and systemic barriers that affect all levels of functioning.
Physically, they are challenged by:
• Post-injury physiological and cognitive difficulties
• Complications in familial and interpersonal relations
• Changes in sexual interest and behaviors
• Dependence on Drugs and alcohol
Psychologically, they experience high levels of:
System-based challenges include:
• The stigma associated with receiving mental health treatment due to the potentially negative impact on the individual’s career coupled with a fear of shame and judgment.
• Anti-social and hazardous behavior frequently exhibited by those diagnosed with
PTSD lead to legal repercussions for engaging in domestic violence, and substance abuse.
• For the families, there is undeniable stress as a result of the common difficulties. They are at an elevated risk for harm. Additionally, it is common to underreport instances of family violence, for fear of negative consequences.