Observing emergency service workers and military personnel applying the skills of their trade is a great reminder of how resilient people can be. In addition to the confronting and sometimes life threatening situations emergency service workers and military personnel find them selves in, this is a group that often feels a great obligation to go “beyond the call” to complete an operation. Of course the responsibility for the life and safety of others is a significant stressor and these realities and stressors are rarely reflected accurately in the media which can sometimes lead to emergency services and military personnel feeling misunderstood.
The vast majority of these dedicated workers have a natural ability to bounce back after attending “critical incidents” or dealing with conflict in the workplace. They draw on the resources of their supportive colleagues, friends and family and they utilise the coping strategies they have learned from their important mentors. For a range of reasons however, there is a significant number of emergency service workers and military personnel who have either been exposed to extreme levels of stress and whose support networks haven’t quite kicked as effectively as we might hope. These members unfortunately are more vulnerable to the two most common mental health concerns within the emergency service and military sector – depression and post traumatic stress.
The good news is that, with good education and best practice approaches, both depression and post traumatic stress are very treatable. Within the team at The Long Gallery Psychologists we appreciate that some emergency service workers and military personnel are reluctant to talk openly with their coworkers or other staff, while at the same time, like to talk to someone who “knows the business”. Fortunately James, Sonja and Vanessa have had many years experience working directly within the emergency service context, understand the organisational context and appreciate the nature of your work.