How First Responders Develop Mental Health Complications?

There are many and different reasons for mental health complications. While a universal theory which grasps all individual situations perhaps does not exist yet, it is possible to reflect on the reasons and process which lead to mental health complications in first responders.

One such reflection is offered by Heyman et al, 2018.[1] It builds on the fact that first responders are frequently and cumulatively exposed to death, grief, injury, pain and loss. This exposure is coupled with aggravating factors such as demanding schedules, physically exhaustive duties, lack of safety and security, fear of discrimination, sanction or social pressure. This may lead to emotional trauma which then results in the potential development of mental health complications. Those may include depression, anxiety, PTSD, suicidal ideation, suicide, substance abuse and others.

The theory can be expressed with the following diagram.[2]