Monday, October 15, 2018

85% First Responders dealing with mental health issues from job


'A Little Broken' - First Responders Grapple With Unseen Scars of the 2017 Fire Siege

Sukey Lewis
October 12, 2018

Shortly after Lucas Boek joined his local fire department, he saw a veteran firefighter walk into firehouse and drop all his gear. “’That’s it, I’m done,’” Boek remembers the man saying. “’I can’t do this anymore.’ And he left.”

A Cal Fire firefighter watches for spot fires from a controlled burn at the edge of the Ranch Fire in 2018. (Anne Wernikoff/KQED)

Over the years, the incident stuck with him.

Now, Boek is sitting and talking with two other men in a Ukiah high school classroom. Between the three — medic Corey Bender, 44, and firefighters Lucas Boek, 40, and Brendan Turner, 46 — they have nearly 60 years of experience in emergency response. Sixty years of running toward car accidents, gunshots and flames.

But it’s not the physical danger of the work that these guys are talking about today.

It’s something else, something that until recently has been pretty difficult to discuss openly: their mental health. A 2017 study found that police officers and firefighters are more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty.
Another survey done last year by the University of Phoenix found that 85 percent of first responders have symptoms related to mental health issues.

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