Firefighters are often at risk for PTSD. Much like war or rape, live wildfire is shocking, life-threatening, unrelenting, and the damage is permanent. This puts firefighters at high risk for PTSD.
This begs the opportunity to speak about this specialized population and how the stress of their work environment puts them at high risk for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.
Firefighters: Are they at Risk for PTSD?
As I am not an authority on firefighters as a topic. However, I searched the internet for information related to this issue that has recently come into my awareness as an example of industry-related or job-related PTSD.
If this is something that concerns you or someone you love, I invite you to continue reading for a brief outline of my findings. Also, be sure to watch the video below about the hidden dangers of firefighting.
Stigma Stops Help
Like mental health issues in general, people exposed to trauma in their workplace often do not come forward to ask for help and are hampered by the continued stigma surrounding mental health.
Because of this continued stigma, there are many people who suffer in silence and are afraid to ask for help for fear of reprisal. No, they probably won’t get fired, but reprisal comes in many forms.
Fear of Reprisal
Reprisal can come in the form of fellow work mates responding differently, management not offering promotions, fellow work mates being non-responsive when trying to engage in conversation, humiliating innuendos in public settings, etc.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression and other mental illnesses are not signs of weak or immoral firefighters; they are job-related illnesses that require treatment. VIA firerescue1.com
Risk Factors for PTSD among Firefighters
According to information derived from Very Well, studies suggest what might put firefighters in danger of developing PTSS. Some of the things to consider are as follows:
- Treatment for another disorder previous to firefighting
- Begin firefighting at a younger age
- Unmarried people
- Being in a supervisory position
- Being around death on the job
- Overwhelming feelings of fear and horror
- Other high-stress events simultaneously
- Having a negative image of one’s self
- Feeling a lack of control of life in general
- Shows hostile behaviors
My heart and prayers go out to every human, animal, and plant involved in these fires across the Western United States this summer. This includes those of us who have enjoyed the beautiful forests, rivers, mountains, and valleys as an intimate environment in our lives. May we live to see these natural wonders of Oregon revived for our children and our children’s children to love and enjoy as much as we did.
If you think you or someone you love is suffering from PTSD, please go to our Post-traumatic Stress Disorder FAQs page for more information and resources to help you in your research.