Emergency services at risk of Poor Mental Health

An online poll has found more than one in four (27 per cent) people had contemplated taking their own lives due to stress and poor mental health while working for the emergency services, while nearly two thirds (63 per cent) had contemplated leaving their job or voluntary role because of stress or poor mental health. Mind 2016.


risk of poor mental health 

Emergency services staff dedicate their lives to keeping others safe, but many find their own mental health suffers as a result.

Depression and Post Traumatic stress Disorder can happen to anyone at any time and is disproportionately high among emergency staff.  Mental health and physical health are closely linked. Stress can cause physical problems like heart disease– which can sometimes be related to the strain their jobs can place on their mental health.

Writing in the Emergency Medicine Journal, Dr. Katherine Roberts of Lansdowne Hospital, Cardiff, UK, summarizes the issues facing this group of workers: “Emergency personnel are vulnerable to psychological distress in both the short-term and long term. While emergency work can be rewarding, personnel are also required to deal with some potentially traumatising situations.

“Some of those rated as being most stressful include accidents involving children, cot death, mass incidents, major fires, road traffic accidents, burns patients, dead on arrival, violent incidents, and murder scenes”

risk of poor mental health


 A Staggering one in 4 people working for the emergency services (27 percent) had considered taking thier own lives and this was down to stress and poor mental health. Mind 2006





In 2016 Mind ….   Completed an online survey for over 1,600 staff and volunteers from emergency services this included the police, fire, ambulance and search and rescue services. This showed that over 9 in 10 (92 per cent) respondents had experienced stress, low mood and poor mental health at some point while working for the emergency services, while 62 per cent said they had experienced a mental health problem – such as depression, anxiety disorder, OCD, PTSD, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia

The findings of the online poll were that a staggering one in 4 people working for the emergency services (27 percent ) had considered taking their own lives and this was down to stress and a poor mental health . Nearly two thirds (63 percent) had thought about leaving their job due to the stress or poor mental health

The ONS analysis of occupational suicide risk between 2011 and 2015 indicated that there were 20 suicide deaths amongst paramedics in England during that period. The risk of suicide amongst male paramedics was 75% higher than the national average.


What is PTSD? Under DSM-5, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that develops in relation to an event which creates psychological trauma in response to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violation.

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    What are the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

risk of poor mental health


Signs and symptoms of PTSD

PTSD develops differently from person to person because everyone’s nervous system and tolerance for stress is a little different. While you’re most likely to develop symptoms of PTSD in the hours or days following a traumatic event, it can sometimes take weeks, months, or even years before they appear. Sometimes symptoms appear seemingly out of the blue. At other times, they are triggered by something that reminds you of the original traumatic event, such as a noise, an image, certain words, or a smell.

While everyone experiences PTSD differently, there are four main types of symptoms.

  1. Re-experiencing the traumatic event through intrusive memories, flashbacks, nightmares, or intense mental or physical reactions when reminded of the trauma.
  2. Avoidance and numbing, such as avoiding anything that reminds you of the trauma, being unable to remember aspects of the ordeal, a loss of interest in activities and life in general, feeling emotionally numb and detached from others and a sense of a limited future.
  3. Hyperarousal, including sleep problems, irritability, hypervigilance (in fight and fight) feeling jumpy or easily startled, angry outbursts, and aggressive, self-destructive, or reckless behavior.
  1. Negative thought and mood changes like feeling alienated and alone, difficulty concentrating or remembering, depression and hopelessness feeling mistrust and betrayal, and feeling guilt, shame or embarrassment


risk of poor mental health


The sooner PTSD is treated, the easier it is to overcome. If you’re reluctant to seek help, keep in mind that PTSD is not a sign of weakness, and the only way to overcome it is to confront what happened to you and learn to accept it as a part of your past. This process is much easier with the guidance and support of an experienced therapist

It’s only natural to want to avoid painful memories and feelings. But if you try to numb yourself and push your memories away, PTSD will only get worse. You can’t escape your emotions completely—they emerge under stress or whenever you let down your guard—and trying to do so is exhausting. The avoidance will ultimately harm your relationships, your ability to function, and the quality of your life.

If you are an employer then there could be more hidden symptoms, example fear, shame, inadequacy, hopelessness and lintd awareness. These can be challenging to spot as the person may be function ok on the surface, and may well do a good job of concealing their mental heath concerns .Of they are able to talk about their mental health , they can then be encouraged to seek care to relieve the distress they will be experiencing.

At BraintrainersUk we offer CBT on an individual basis and training for your employers from Mental Health Nurses and CBT Therapists with years of experience of working in Mental health. We are making great efforts to reduce stigma and discrimination in the workplace and encourage employers to send clear messages that it is ok to talk openly about Mental Health

More details on our website BraintrainersUK.co.uk or send us a email on BraintrainersUK@gmail.com and we can see you for a free consultation


Why do you need to seek help?


risk of poor mental health


Early treatment is better. Symptoms of PTSD may get worse. Dealing with them now might help stop them from getting worse in the future. Finding out more about what treatments work, where to look for help, and what kind of questions to ask can make it easier to get help and lead to better outcomes.

PTSD symptoms can change family life. PTSD symptoms can get in the way of your family life. You may find that you pull away from loved ones, are not able to get along with people, or that you are angry or even violent. Getting help for your PTSD can help improve your family life.

PTSD can be related to other health problems. PTSD symptoms can make physical health problems worse. For example, studies have shown a relationship between PTSD and heart trouble. Getting help for your PTSD could also improve your physical health.

Source: National Center for PTSD

risk of poor mental health


Links between Physical and Mental health

The mental health and physical health link works in both directions. If you have untreated depression, you are more susceptible to some physical conditions such as heart disease, irritable bowel, stroke, back pain or certain kinds of cancer. On the flip side, patients living with these kinds of chronic illnesses are more vulnerable to developing depression. Thus, whichever came first, the association between mental health and physical health persists.

Further, mental and physical health interact upon each other via indirect routes, such as employment. Poor mental health may lead to loss of productivity, then loss of wages, hence reducing access to healthier foods. Or stress at work can lead to lack of sleep which has negative physical health results.


In fact people with insomnia are ten times more likely to develop depression than people without, and 83 percent of depressed individuals will display insomnia symptoms. It is easy to think of reasons why insomnia might lead to depression: it is extremely frustrating and causes a person to lie awake at night and ruminate on unpleasant thoughts Then, the sleepiness during the day and this can  lead to a reduction in quality of life.

Another important route of interaction is through our relationships and social interactions. People experiencing mental health problems are more likely to feel, and indeed be, lonely or socially isolated. Both loneliness and social isolation strongly impact our physical health and have been found to be linked with increased risk of early death.

These relationships in which one health problem increases the risk for another one, in public health, is usually called a mediation factor. Such mediation analyses have revealed that approximately 1 in 20 of all physical health problems we may currently experience, are a direct or indirect result of a past or current mental health problem.  Health foundation 2019

By treating your depression, you can significantly impact your physical health and your quality of life. Treatment for depression may include use of antidepressant medication, but not necessarily. Sometimes, lifestyle changes such as adding moderate exercise into your daily schedule and paying attention to your sleep routine (sleep hygiene) can be enough to turn things around. A short-term course of cognitive behavioral therapy which helps you learn to take charge of thought patterns is another way to help clear the fog of depression.


risk of poor mental health


Trauma-focused psychological treatment

  • Trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy should be offered to those with severe post-traumatic symptoms or with severe PTSD in the first month after the traumatic event. These treatments should normally be provided on an individual outpatient basis.
  • All people with PTSD should be offered a course of trauma-focused psychological treatment (trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy [CBT] or eye movement Desensitisation and reprocessing [EMDR]). These treatments should normally be provided on an individual basis.

Drug treatments for adults

  • Drug treatments for PTSD should not be used as a routine first-line treatment for adults (in general use or by specialist mental health professionals) in preference to a trauma-focused psychological therapy.
  • Drug treatments (paroxetine or mirtazapine for general use, and amitriptyline or phenelzine for initiation only by mental health specialists) should be considered for the treatment of PTSD in adults who express a preference not to engage in trauma-focused psychological treatment.

NICE clinical guidelines, based on the best evidence available, are designed to help and support healthcare professionals at work and to make the treatment process easier for all concerned.


risk of poor mental health


 What is CBT?

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that aims to help you manage your problems by changing how you think and act.

Trauma-focused CBT uses a range of psychological treatment techniques to help you come to terms with the traumatic event.

For example, your therapist may ask you to confront your traumatic memories by thinking about your experience in detail. During this process your therapist will help you cope with any distress you feel, while identifying any unhelpful thoughts or misrepresentations you have about the experience.

By doing this, your therapist can help you gain control of your fear and distress by changing the negative way you think about your experience, such as feeling that you are to blame for what happened or fear that it may happen again.

You may also be encouraged to gradually restart any activities you have avoided since your experience, such as driving a car if you had an accident.


How many sessions?

You will usually have 6-12 weekly sessions of trauma-focused CBT, although fewer may be needed if the treatment starts within one month of the traumatic event.

Sessions where the trauma is discussed will usually last for around 90 minutes.

When are BraintrainersUK able to help you?

Immediately, there is no NHS waiting list .We can see your employees face to face if they are within the catchment area of Sussex. If not, then we can work with skype or zoom

We can offer training for your staff. More details are on our website BraintrainersUK.co.uk


Where can we help companies in reducing sickness

A staggering 70 million work days are lost each year due to mental health problems in the UK, costing employers an estimated £2.4 billion pounds per year

BraintrainersUK have found that companies and organisation that invest in wellness reap a significant return of investment in loyalty, productivity and consistency performing

Your company could benefit from the quick delivery of therapy to enable your staff to remain in work, therefore reducing the cost of sick leave both in financial terms but also in lost efficiency and continuity.


 Who are BraintrainersUK?

We have accredited Cognitive behavioural Therapists and Mental Health Nurses with many years of experience delivering high quality therapy    with excellent recovery rates. We are flexible in accommodating staff that are working shift patterns and meet the needs of each company To provide consistent high quality therapy, we choose therapists that maintain the integrity of our professional standards and clinical excellence.

Why choose BraintrainersUK: Choosing to use BraintrainersUK for your workforce benefits you as there is no waiting time for a free consultation. We are not a generic service we are experts in our field. BraintrainersUK have a passion for delivering first class mental health training. Our services are embedded with evidence-based CBT that has proven excellent recovery rates.


 Why are we passionate around mental health and reducing stigma in mental health?

We aim to continue to encourage businesses and organisation to be involved in the mental well-being of all staff.  We deliver the highest quality Cognitive Behavioral Therapy strategies that are tools for life both in the workplace and beyond.  We aim to help support businesses to create a work environment that is supportive and healthy so that staff are more efficient, productive and loyal thus reducing cost of sick-pay and absenteeism.  Our vision is to create a thriving workplace for everyone.




If you suspect that you or a member of your staff has post-traumatic stress disorder, it’s important to seek help right away.

risk of poor mental health




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Email: BraintrainersUK@gmail.com

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