Stress Resilience for First Responders
Studies have revealed that the link between the daily stress factors of police work and insomnia, shortened lifespans, insomnia, obesity, cancer, suicide and varies general health disparities which police officers suffer compared to the general population. It has also been found that shift work for police, firefighters and EMTs is a contributing factor to an increase in metabolic syndrome, a combination of symptoms such as hypertension, weight, insulin resistance, stroke and diabetes. The estimated number of law enforcement officers who die by suicide outnumber those who die in the line of duty. The Ruderman Family Foundation, a philanthropic institution, found that the rate of PTSD and depression for police and firefighters is five times higher than the civilian population.
And with the pandemic, responding to other’s fears means more calls on regular shifts, or it may mean extra shifts and longer hours. A public crisis can play on people’s emotions, including even the hardest and most cynical responders who have “seen it all.” Extra effort into self-care for stress resilience is required.