As September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, this article focuses on the exposure and affect regarding those who have been charged with protecting the population’s health and preserving a community’s population—namely, first responders.
In 2022, the world has been challenged by several unprecedented large-scale crisis events such as increases in mass shootings, increases in violence, and pernicious natural disasters. Although first responders have been trained to engage in extreme conditions amid rapid onset of change circumstances, such trainings do not comprehensively address or provide resources for the post-response mental health needs of these professionals. In fact, because of the pandemic, alongside a host of other various social ingressions like public insurrections and aggressive social discord over the past 2 years, the mental health needs of first responders have gained more attention. In this, a larger scope of questions predominates, such as: What happens to those same professionals who continuously endure the gross impact of such phenomena beyond their psychological and physical capabilities? Additionally, what is being done to assist first responders regarding assessment and remediation of mental health issues? Finally, how prevalent are things like posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other pathologies that may result from being a first responder?