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Utah State University Extension

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Communities spend thousands of dollars on first responders to protect them physically: body armor for law enforcement officers, heat resistant gear for firefighters, gloves and reflective clothing for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel. Supporting and investing in programs related to first responders’ mental health is equally important in keeping their minds safe. First responders train long hours each year to stay prepared for almost any situation. In the past, training has centered around physical safety and job efficiency. In recent years, efforts have been made to include mental health training and reduce the stigma associated with mental health for first responders (Rose et al., 2015). It’s easy to realize that first responders endure hazardous conditions, traumatic events, and long hours on the job, but much of the stress comes from the everyday job requirements. This fact sheet examines burnout, compassion fatigue, stigma, and protective factors, as well as providing valuable resources to address the mental health concerns of first responders.



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