Anyone who witnesses or experiences serious injury or violence may suffer psychological trauma as a result.
Some people can recover quite quickly after trauma with the help and support of family and friends. But for many, the effects can be long-lasting. In some cases, the impact of the event can develop into a psychological injury such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, commonly referred to as PTSD.
According to Phoenix Australia, PTSD is the most common mental health disorder after depression and as part of today's PTSD Awareness Day we're focusing on what we're doing to support a group of workers who have a high risk of developing this disorder.
What does PTSD look like?
There are four main symptoms of PTSD:
- re-living the traumatic event, possibly through recurring memories or vivid nightmares
- avoiding reminders of the traumatic event including thoughts, activities or situations that might bring back memories of the event
- experiencing negative thoughts and feelings, for example developing beliefs that the world is unsafe
- feeling overly wound-up or alert which could present as being easily startled or having trouble sleeping.
Supporting our first responders
Emergency service workers have a high exposure to potentially traumatic events, increasing their risk of developing PTSD and other psychological injuries.
As many as 1 in 10 military personnel and emergency service workers worldwide have PTSD. Phoenix Australia
As part of our commitment to helping people get their lives back, we support initiatives which help workers in emergency services, such as Fortem Australia's thank a first responder day and their virtual Emergency Services Mental Health & Leadership Summit and our ongoing partnership with agencies such as the Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health, Phoenix Australia.
PTSD in Emergency Services
We have a specific area of our website dedicated to helping to protect emergency service workers from the impacts of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and psychological injuries. Our range of videos, guides, and articles have been developed through collaborations with organisations including NSW Police, NSW Fire and Rescue, the Black Dog Institute and Phoenix Australia.
PTSD Recovery Guides
We have a range of recovery after trauma guides which can be downloaded from our website. These guides were developed with Phoenix Australia and seek to provide information for workers at a time when they need it most. We have guides available specifically for paramedics, firefighters, police and health professionals.
World First Guidelines for Clinicians
EML partnered with nine of Australia’s leading PTSD experts to deliver Expert Guidelines: Diagnosis and Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Emergency Service Workers, a set of evidence-based guidelines on how PTSD should be diagnosed and treated amongst first responders.
For NSW Police Officers who cannot return to work due to medical restrictions we have a variety of resources on our website to help them to transition into a new career. The More than a Cop online education program is free and accessible through EMlearning.
Career Transition Q&A
Experience a firefighter’s experience of career transition in this Q&A with former Station Officer Greg Williams and the video recordings of Greg and his wife Debbie Williams. NSW Firefighter Greg Williams shares his career transition experience, its impacts on mental health and the value of family support.
We have developed information and resources to help loved ones of first responders understand trauma and recovery and the impacts it can have on family life.
For more information, or to provide feedback regarding our resources, please contact a member of Mutual Benefits.