ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Many people know there are risks of getting hurt when pursuing a career in public safety, but most don’t realize the toll the job takes on first responders’ mental health.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say first responders are almost 1 1/2 times more likely to die by suicide when compared with the general public.
Dr. Michael Lohmeier, with UW Health, says one of the contributing factors is the immense stress first responders work under, and Lohmeier says there is a sense that they need to be strong to stay on the job.
“It’s a lot of people who are Type A personalities, who are self sufficient, who don’t like to admit that they need help from other people, so you end up getting a culture of, giving the appearance of self sufficiency, but they’re actually internalizing, not talking about those things that they probably should,” he said.
Experts say first responders can cope with stress by talking with friends and family.