The hidden costs of being a first responder

The hidden costs of being a first responder

For first responders — firefighters, paramedics and police officers — job stress goes far beyond an unpredictable boss, stringent deadlines or unpleasant co-workers.

First responders' workplaces are on the front lines of accidents, violence, fires, injury, threats to personal safety and death. They face potentially traumatic situations head-on every day. Unrelenting stress can result in post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, addiction and suicide at rates much higher than those experienced by people in other professions.

Research on first responders' mental health issues is scarce. A 2014 article in first responder-focused EMS World magazine described...