First responders utilize communication and peer counseling to protect mental health

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– Firefighters, police, and paramedics react to dangerous situations every day and that can take a toll on their mental health.

Maintaining mental wellness can be a critical part of a first responder’s job especially since these men and women experience constant exposure to trauma and life-threatening situations.

In a nationwide survey of more than 2,000 first responders, 85% reported mental health symptoms and one-third reported actual diagnoses of depression or PTSD.

The Nixa Fire District explains their efforts to help the men and women who serve in the department.

Assistant Chief of the Nixa Fire Department, Whitney Weaver, said some first responders might chalk it up to the challenges of the job and may not seek help.

“We are kind of blessed here with a fire department chaplain that’s very progressive,” said Weaver. “He’s had a lot of training in counseling and peer counseling, so we’re kind of lucky to have him here.”

Weaver said knowing this the department is intentional about checking in on one another. He said sometimes all it takes is someone who is willing to have a conversation.

Here are some additional resources for first responders:

Missouri Crisis Intervention Team (MO CIT) Council

Missouri State Highway Patrol Post Critical Incident Seminar

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