First responders are the new frontline

First responders are often exposed to traumatic scenes that are comparable to combat situations. Picture: PIXABAY

Every Anzac Day we remember and respect the sacrifices made by past and current service personnel.

We should also remember those who died at their own hands.

Recognition of the unique nature of military service and its impacts need to be considered.

When depression takes control of your mind, you think thoughts and do things that are not of your doing.

Taking your own life is not a conscious deliberate decision; the many varied stress factors in your life can allow depression to take total control of your life.

Another battle is being fought on the home front, by first responders.

Police, fire, ambulance, SES personnel are often exposed to traumatic scenes that are comparable to combat situations.

A former police officer, James Maskey, living with PTSD reported that mental health stigma remains ‘rife’ among first responders, with over 5000 members in Queensland reaching out for help in the last 12 months, according to the Courier Mail.

He was rocked by the news that a colleague, Senior Constable Kym Slade took her own life last year, and was quoted as saying “Kym’s suicide death underscores the very real and human impact of the first responder occupation.

“Quite often, the demands of being first on the scene for others can mean being last on the scene for self and family.”

Research shows that one in 10 responders developed PTSD, compared to one in 20 of the general population.

More than 300,000 responders are involved every day throughout Australia, and their mental health is supported by Fortem Australia, a not-for-profit organisation.

Remember, it is not what goes wrong in your life that matters. It is what you do about it that counts.

Beyond Blue Support: 1300224636

LifeLine: 131114

Fortem Australia: 1300339594