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PTSD Awareness Helps First Responders During Holidays 


By Allison G. S. Knox
Contributor, EDM Digest

In the last few years, interest groups and nonprofit organizations have created educational awareness programs that focus on a specific day or month to highlight their importance. January, for example, is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

The holiday season can be a difficult time emotionally for some people. Mental health professionals know this is especially true for those who have experienced a traumatic event, a personal loss or are alone. That’s why the holiday season is a great time to showcase the importance of mental health services for first responders.

First Responders Often Struggle with PTSD around the Holidays

First responders have an increasingly difficult time with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) around Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year holidays. This should come as no surprise, considering the numerous traumatic events they experience on an almost daily basis.

The Journal of Pre-Hospital Emergency Care notes, “Certain professions, including law enforcement and EMS are exposed to high degrees of workplace stress, therefore it is hypothesized that these individuals are more predisposed to conditions including anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation and behaviors.”

That is why mental health professionals emphasize PTSD awareness, education and mental healthcare to help public safety professionals get the appropriate help they need. This awareness helps to make a difference in first responders’ well-being.

Allison G. S. Knox Passionate about the issues affecting ambulances and disaster management, Allison focuses on Emergency Management and Emergency Medical Services policy. Allison has taught at the undergraduate level since 2010. Prior to teaching, she worked in a level-one trauma center emergency department and for a member of Congress in Washington, D.C. She holds four master’s degrees in Emergency Management, National Security Studies, International Relations, and History; a Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security; and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Allison is an Emergency Medical Technician, Lifeguard, and Lifeguard Instructor, and is trained in Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue. She serves on the Board of Trustees for Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society as Chancellor of the Southeast Region, Vice Chair of the Tactical Emergency Medical Support Committee with the International Public Safety Association, and serves as the Advocacy Coordinator of Virginia with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians. She is also a member of several committees including the Editorial Committee with APCO, the Rescue Task Force Committee with the International Public Safety Association, and the Advocacy Committee with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians. She also serves as Chair of the Leadership Development Program for the 2020 Pi Gamma Mu Triennial Convention. Allison has published several book reviews and continues to write about issues affecting ambulances, emergency management, and homeland security.