Law enforcement and fire department personnel, including retirees, and their families encounter all the same personal, marital, parental, and family stressors as other people. In addition, they are exposed to unique occupational-related stress.
Firefighters, law enforcement officers, and retirees
- Take their own lives at higher rates than the general population rates
- Experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) more than the wider population
- Abuse alcohol and other substances to try to cope with stress symptoms
- Are affected by chronic sleep deprivation and sleep disorders
Firefighters are expected to be heroes and may feel guilty or ashamed when they cannot meet that expectation.
Law enforcement officers and retirees may resent portrayals of them in the media and be subject to aggressive comments and behavior from the public.
Dispatchers and 9/11 operators
- Hear calls marked by screaming, crying and sounds of violence They dispatch and must move on immediately to the next call
- Do not usually find out how a distressing situation was resolved
- Experience burn-out and emotional exhaustion
- Are vulnerable to PTSD, anxiety, and depression
Spouses/partners and children of law enforcement personnel and firefighters
- Worry about their loved one’s health and safety
- Resent the disruptions to life caused by shift work
- Are affected by negative public opinion and media reports
- May feel that they play second fiddle to the job
Seeking help for stress-associated mental health challenges is a strength that helps current and retired members of the law enforcement and firefighting communities and their families care more effectively for themselves, each other, and the wider community.
Presby Psych clinicians have years of experience working clinically with first responders, couples, children, and families. As a trauma-informed organization, we are sensitive to stress-related disorders and are able to listen to distressing stories without fear or excessive curiosity. We are skilled in working with acute and post-traumatic stress and with alcohol and substance abuse issues that first responders often experience.
Call us at 704-554-9900 to arrange a consultation.
All sessions with law enforcement personnel, firefighters, retirees, and dependents are confidential. We do not report information about these clients to their law enforcement or firefighting superiors, organizations or agencies.