Minnesota is one of several states that has recently passed legislation providing workers’ compensation benefits for first responders suffering from PTSD. A study says fire stations, police departments, hospitals and dispatchers across the country struggle with everyday deaths as well as the national epidemic of mass shootings.
The survey of 4,000 first responders by the Journal of Emergency Medical Services says police officers, firefighters, EMTs, paramedics and other emergency workers are ten times more likely to attempt suicide than another person, and 6% of those surveyed said they had tried to take their own lives.
What are the signs of PTSD?
The Mayo Clinic says post-traumatic stress disorder is a condition that is triggered by a frightening event after experiencing it first-hand or witnessing the event. Symptoms are placed into four categories:
- Intrusive memories: Unwanted recurring memories of the event, flashbacks, upsetting dreams and severe reactions to thoughts that remind you of the incident
- Avoidance: Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the event and avoiding places, people or activities that serve as a reminder
- Negative changes in thinking and mood: Experiencing destructive thoughts about yourself and others, hopelessness, difficulty maintaining close relationships and feeling detached from loved ones and close friends
- Physical and emotional reactions: Being easily frightened, always on guard over danger, self-destructive behavior, irritability, overwhelming shame or guilt and trouble concentrating
Few seek the help they need
A 2017 University of Phoenix survey found nearly 40% of 2,000 first responders interviewed said they did not seek help for their PTSD symptoms because they feared they would face negative repercussions for seeking mental health services. Some states limit benefits based on symptoms, while others do not include all classes of first responders. If you suffer from PTSD symptoms, immediate care is essential to your well-being. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney here in Minnesota can help you get the benefits you deserve.