" Next to creating a life, the finest thing a man can do is save one." Abraham Lincoln
The needs of first responders and their families are unique. The demands of the job; the politics both inside and outside of the the workplace; and the social environment of our society all have a accumulative effect on a person's well being. The things that first responders and their families see, cope with, and have to contend with are well beyond what the average citizen has to live with. The fact is that the suicide rate is twice as high for first responders than the national average. Often times numbing out behaviors, such as substance abuse and gambling become an everyday behavior in order to just get through the day and try to mask the anxiety and depression that many feel. Many are afraid to reach out to their EAP's in fear it will effect their jobs. For those who have been on the job for awhile, burnout, anxiety, insomnia and anger can become chronic. Common barriers that keep first responders from reaching out to their EAP and attending therapy include concerns about how attending therapy will effect their job and FOID card; confidentiality; and trust that therapy can actually help.
At any given time, 25-40% of my practice is with first responders and/or their families. I not only have first responders in my family but have also worked with first responders in a variety of collaborative and direct treatment capacities for many years. In my practice, I try to provide a safe, confidential place for first responders and their families to begin to address some of the impact the job has had on them and those who love them.
If you are reading this and have questions or concerns about if therapy can effect your job or you have questions about what happens in therapy, I encourage you to call and I can try to answer whatever questions you may have.