Bend Counseling & Biofeedback provides specialized mental health services for first responders across Oregon. With a team of dedicated and experienced professionals, our clinical approach to mental health care allows us to offer effective, research-based treatments to help first responders manage physical and emotional trauma caused by their work.
Our services aim to provide compassionate, individualized care tailored to each person's unique needs. We understand the distinctive stressors public safety personnel face and strive to create a safe environment where they can feel respected and empowered. We are committed to providing comprehensive services that address the root causes of mental health issues while allowing individuals to take an active role in their recovery. Our mission is simple: we want to help first responders live healthier lives with greater peace of mind.
How Does Mental Health Affect First Responders?
First responders respond to emergencies quickly and take action to help protect the public from harm. They are often members of the fire department, police force, or medical personnel such as EMTs and paramedics. They can also include other professionals such as 9-1-1 dispatchers, active and retired military personnel, or staff or volunteers with disaster relief organizations such as those providing shelter and food service during a crisis.
Four Most Common Conditions First Responders Can Develop:
First responders face many serious challenges that can devastate individuals and organizations if left unchecked or untreated by qualified professionals. First response entities need access to adequate resources to prevent, intervene, and treat these prevalent issues to ensure their personal safety and organizational efficacy going forward.
Why Are First Responders More Prone to Develop Mental Health Issues?
First responders have an incredibly difficult and often traumatic job responding to dangerous and often life-threatening situations. This can expose them to physical risks, such as coming into contact with hazardous chemicals, and emotional risks, such as bearing witness to traumatic events.
Additionally, due to the nature of their work, they regularly experience disrupted sleep schedules and separation from loved ones - all of which can take a considerable toll on their mental health. Providing support for those struggling in these roles is essential for their well-being.
Ways to Recognize Mental Health Issues Before They’re an Issue
The best way to confront the stigma associated with mental health issues is to normalize the conversation around it. Gender and societal expectations can often play a role in how people perceive mental health and seek help. Employers have an important role in helping their first responder employees. They must create a safe space where their employees can comfortably reach out for help without fear of repercussions such as being demoted or fired - 57% of respondents reported that they fear these repercussions.
By creating awareness and counteracting the stigma, employers can provide invaluable support that could mean the difference between life and death in some cases. Mental health plays an integral part in everyone's well-being, so it is essential for those in positions of power to recognize that and create an environment where individuals feel safe reaching out for help when needed.