Public health and public safety workers (police officers, emergency medical services EMS, firefighters, 911 operators), experience myriad mental health challenges as a direct result of work-related exposure to hazards inherent in their jobs.
The cumulative impact of this exposure over the course of a career can lead to numerous operational stress injuries (OSIs) including, but not limited to, depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, and marital tensions.
Organizational stress, the tension and stress resulting from the workplace, can become another source of difficulty. Examples of organizational stressors include; ineffective leadership, understaffing, conflict in the workplace. In a recent study of police officers, organizational stressors were ranked higher than operational stress as a source of anxiety.
Yet another identified source of stress for first responders is shift work, long shifts and lack of control over the number of highly stressful calls in a row. This fast-paced tempo can lead to the inability to adequately process a traumatic event. According to one study of EMS professionals, 69% reported not being able to adequately recover between traumatic events.
Accumulated stress related to high stress occupations can lead to the development of emotional regulation difficulties which impacts relationships with friends, intimate partners, children and coworkers. In an attempt to psychologically manage extremely high stress levels, some individuals develop problematic coping behaviours such as addictions to gambling/the internet, drug and alcohol abuse, anxiety, depression, irritability, anger- management problems, etc.
At FVB Psychologists, we have been treating first responders for over thirty years. This has afforded our clinicians a unique opportunity to fully appreciate first-responder culture and to learn and further develop our expertise in the assessment and treatment of individuals working in high-stress occupations.
The bottom line is this: We understand and appreciate the exceptional challenges inherent in this work, and we recognize the challenges that family members experience when their loved one develops stress-related difficulties.
Meet Our Team
Our assessment and therapy services are conducted by an experienced team of clinicians who work collaboratively with the client to address mental health challenges through evidence-based interventions. This may include, but are not limited to, such therapeutic approaches as cognitive-behavioural therapy, psychodynamic therapy, or mindfulness-based techniques.