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Psychological effects of trauma in emergency services

  • #1
    Registered Users Posts: 403 ✭✭ SaltSweatSugar


    I work in the frontline emergency services and we see our fair share of traumatic and distressing incidents but one in particular this week has affected me quite badly. I’m not sleeping, have no appetite, I’m irritable and can’t stop thinking about what I saw. Unfortunately I’m going to be reminded of this for months to come. I see a therapist regularly for other issues so I have someone to talk to, although I can’t see her for another two weeks as she’s away on a course. We don’t have professional supervision in my line of work unfortunately.

    I’m curious as to whether many studies or research have been done in Ireland into the psychological effects of trauma on emergency services workers be it paramedics/EMTs, fire services or police. I’ve developed an interest on psychology the past few months and have done a few Mickey Mouse online courses but I would be especially interested to read up on this. I know Dr. Sharon Lambert in UCC is interested in trauma but not specifically within the emergency services.

    I’d even be interested to read up on any similar studies that may have been carried out in the UK, if they exist.

    Can anyone here point me in the right direction where I may find any papers/studies on the above topic? Or is that source available to a lay person who doesn’t work in the field of psychology or in academia?


Comments



  • I'll get into this when I get a chance.

    Here's someone's PhD on retired ES personnel and their quality of life. http://mural.maynoothuniversity.ie/6428/1/FINAL%20Thesis_Mairead%20Bracken%20Scally.pdf

    And a HSE doc re major incidents. https://www.hse.ie/eng/services/publications/mentalhealth/emer.pdf




  • Perhaps the jobs not for you.




  • I have zero doubt that this job is for me given that I’ve been at it for 11 years, am good at it and absolutely love it but thanks for your concern. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have the odd bad day in their career. We’re not robots.

    As stated above, I’m merely interested in educating myself on any research or studies done into the topic, not advice on my suitability for the job.




  • Look at what you wrote :


    I’m not sleeping, have no appetite, I’m irritable and can’t stop thinking about what I saw.

    Unfortunately I’m going to be reminded of this for months to come. I see a therapist regularly for other issues


    thats more than an odd bad day at work


    .......

    I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have the odd bad day in their career.

    .......




  • I work in the frontline emergency services and we see our fair share of traumatic and distressing incidents but one in particular this week has affected me quite badly. I’m not sleeping, have no appetite, I’m irritable and can’t stop thinking about what I saw. Unfortunately I’m going to be reminded of this for months to come. I see a therapist regularly for other issues so I have someone to talk to, although I can’t see her for another two weeks as she’s away on a course. We don’t have professional supervision in my line of work unfortunately.

    I’m curious as to whether many studies or research have been done in Ireland into the psychological effects of trauma on emergency services workers be it paramedics/EMTs, fire services or police. I’ve developed an interest on psychology the past few months and have done a few Mickey Mouse online courses but I would be especially interested to read up on this. I know Dr. Sharon Lambert in UCC is interested in trauma but not specifically within the emergency services.

    I’d even be interested to read up on any similar studies that may have been carried out in the UK, if they exist.

    Can anyone here point me in the right direction where I may find any papers/studies on the above topic? Or is that source available to a lay person who doesn’t work in the field of psychology or in academia?

    Those are symptoms of PTS. I would encourage you to see your GP ASAP. Especially as you said you will be reminded of this for months.


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  • May be of interest, OP.

    Officer Down - Police Under Attack
    Tonight at 8pm on Channel4

    https://twitter.com/C4Dispatches/status/1145395181182705664




  • Thanks for the advice folks. Went to see my GP and feeling better now, I don’t want to go into too much detail but things are getting back to normal. I appreciate the concern.

    The Black Oil those links are pretty much exactly what I was looking for. Missed that documentary but thanks very much anyway.




  • This might be useful:

    http://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2017-03-28-tetris-used-prevent-post-traumatic-stress-symptoms

    It's something I'm very interested in as well, how not to be vicariously traumatised without in any way shutting off or blocking empathy. I heard someone say they frequently remind themselves *this is not happening to me*. And another person said they try to get outside and look around at all the people going about to whom nothing bad has happened today.




  • https://europepmc.org/abstract/med/20524508

    This two-stage study was undertaken to assess the extent and nature of Critical Incident Stress (CIS) amongst frontline staff in a large ambulance service in Ireland. In Stage One, 63% (112/180) of participants completed a Screening Questionnaire and the GHQ-12. In Stage Two, 27 participants, who had experienced a critical incident (CI) during the previous year completed several measures to assess PTSD symptomatology, burnout, health-related Quality of Life, and dispositional optimism. Eighty-one per cent (80/94) of the Stage One group reported that their health had been affected by a CI; 42% (44/106) were identified as 'cases' on the GHQ-12. Stage Two results indicated that 12 participants had PTSD symptoms while this entire group showed moderate levels of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization, despite experiencing high levels of personal accomplishment and optimism. The findings suggest a high prevalence of CIS among ambulance personnel in Ireland and a significant impact on overall health and wellbeing. This has important implications for the effective management of CIS and suggests an important role for occupational health and organizational psychologists in providing routine support to ambulance service staff andpossibly other emergency services personnel.

    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1023/A:1014327110402
    In this postal survey of 1064 health service staff working closest to the Omagh bombing in Northern Ireland, approximately half reported having professional or civilian involvement. Types of involvement and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) levels varied between staff groups. Staff involved both professionally and as a civilian, particularly those who witnessed the trauma, or those who had experienced previous emotional problems and trauma, had the highest levels of symptomatology. Although staff with higher PTSD symptoms were more likely to seek professional help, only a minority contacted professionals for support.

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0165032714001979
    Background
    Mental Health Literacy (MHL) predicts help-seeking for mental health difficulties. Public surveys show high recognition of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in relation to military contexts, but this has not been investigated with other sources of trauma.

    Methods
    A self-selecting sample of 2960 participants from UK and Ireland completed an online survey. Participants viewed one of three vignettes that described either a male or female character experiencing identical PTSD symptoms, that differed only by trauma source (military combat, industrial accident, sexual assault). Participants were asked to state i) whether a mental health problem was being experienced, ii) what it was, and iii) what help should be sought.

    Results
    Trauma type was a key predictor of classification as a mental health problem, correct identification of PTSD, and help-seeking suggestions. For participants shown the military scenario the odds of recognising PTSD were 5.2 times higher than for those shown the sexual assault vignette, and 2.2 times higher than for those shown the accident scenario. Age (younger), gender (female), education (university), and personal mental health experience were additional significant predictors of higher recognition of PTSD.

    Limitations
    Reasons for failing to recognise a mental health problem/PTSD were not explored. The online convenience sampling method may limit generalisability of results.

    Conclusions
    Recognition of PTSD is significantly affected by trauma source. The data confirmed the pervasive association with military combat and suggest under-recognition of PTSD from other traumas, particularly sexual assault. Awareness campaigns may aim to increase MHL of PTSD from diverse trauma sources.

    Most of the studies were carried out in Northern Ireland. DM me if you like, it's my area of specialism.


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