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May 29th, 2023

What are red flags for first responders coping with stress? Badges

First responders are exposed to high levels of stress and trauma in their work, which can take a toll on their mental and emotional health. It's essential to be aware of the warning signs or red flags that may indicate that a first responder is struggling to cope with stress. Some of these red flags may include:

Withdrawal: A first responder who suddenly becomes withdrawn or isolated from their colleagues or loved ones may be struggling with stress and trauma.

Sleep disturbances: Changes in sleep patterns, such as insomnia or excessive sleeping, may be a sign of stress or trauma.

Physical symptoms: Physical symptoms, such as headaches, stomach aches, or muscle tension, may be a sign of stress or anxiety.

Substance use: Increased use of alcohol or drugs, including prescription medications, may be a sign of stress or coping mechanisms.

Mood changes: First responders who experience sudden mood swings, irritability, or anger may be struggling to cope with stress.

Difficulty concentrating: Difficulty focusing, making decisions, or performing everyday tasks may be a sign of stress or trauma.

Avoidance behavior: Avoiding situations that trigger memories or emotions associated with a traumatic event may be a sign of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

It's essential to seek help if any of these red flags are present. First responders who experience ongoing stress and trauma should seek support from colleagues, their department, or a mental health professional who specializes in trauma. By taking steps to manage stress and trauma, first responders can maintain their well-being and continue to provide effective care to those in need. If you need to talk to someone independent and who you can trust, give Hot Wash Peer Support, because we've been there.

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