People think of first responders as being able to handle whatever comes at them. Emergency medical technicians and paramedics see things in the course of a normal shift that would strike fear in any normal person, however, so it’s only natural that they might have some mental health issues manifest over time. While they may stay calm and collected while they’re handling the emergency, these professionals have a much higher rate of dying by suicide, contemplating suicide, or attempting suicide than the general population.
One reason why many people don’t realize that EMTs and other first responders have these mental health issues is the stigma of speaking out about them. Some are remiss to discuss how the things they go through at work are impacting them because they’re worried that they’ll be looked down upon. This can leave the issues to fester until they become debilitating.
It’s imperative for any first responder who feels they are suffering mentally to get in touch with someone who can help. Many employers have assistance programs. Health insurance may also help. There’s a chance that they may be unable to continue working while they grapple with their mental health issues.
If the mental health issues have progressed to the point that they have become disabling and are expected to last at least 12 months, the person suffering from them may need to file for Social Security Disability benefits. Because mental health claims are often challenging, it’s usually beneficial to work with an attorney who’s familiar with these cases to minimize the chance of denial (or to overcome the denial you may already have received).