02.

Health Professionals

& First Responders

There are not many occupations like that of health professionals and first responders which include the routine exposure to trauma, violence and suffering. Trauma reactions are normal reactions to extremely abnormal circumstances. Post-Traumatic Stress injury can move into post-traumatic stress growth. Sometimes we need support to provide insights into stress reactions and to enhance our existing strengths.

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Anxiety, fear, and hopelessness are a few emotions that can linger from post-traumatic or stressful events. We can find ourselves having trouble coping both inside and outside of the job. These are normal reactions with a neurobiological connection. We are not weak, needy or damaged. We can overcome these symptoms by understanding our bodies and the brain link. Then the grief work and healing process can occur starting with mindfulness-based practices to achieve a sense of grounding.

First Responders and Health professions may include:

  • Fire Fighters

  • Paramedics

  • Police Officers

  • 911 Dispatchers

  • Counsellors

  • Dentists

  • Health Care Workers

  • Nurses

  • OT/RT

  • Physicians

  • Social workers

  • Veterinarians/Technicians

The challenge:

Often health professionals are avoidant of actively participating in self-care. They may also not be setting boundaries to ensure they prioritize their wellness. I have observed and experienced this first hand. Our professional and personal lives can suffer without us even realizing how much.

What is holding you back from getting your own help?

Confidentiality Concerns

Although we understand the importance of confidentiality, we again feel vulnerable and may have concerns that our information will not be held private. Nothing will be shared unless you give permission. There may be some exceptions but we will discuss this in depth.

Stigma with Mental Health Support

Often health care professionals believe we should be able to solve our own problems. We may view ourselves as being “weak” when we need assistance. We feel shame or embarrassment for reaching out.

A Sense of Loss of Control

We are used to having a certain amount of control and a feeling of being “in charge” in our work. We are used to being the ones assessing situations and people and not the other way around. When we find ourselves on the other end of the helping, we may feel apprehensive, nervous, and uneasy.

Devaluing or Minimizing Self-Care

We know we should do this, but we don’t. Do you find yourself putting yourself last? Do you put the needs of patients, clients, and family members first? Do you find you don’t have the time or feel that it is selfish to tend to your own needs? Do you find Self-care silly or overvalued?

My Wishes for First Responders and Health Professionals

  • Change the pattern and prioritize wellness

  • Accept that vulnerability is not only “ok,” it is also tied to wellness and success

  • Shine a light on the pitfalls of stoicism and emotion minimization

  • Value support for healthy and balanced professional lives

  • Value support for healthy and balanced personal lives

  • Discuss burnout, compassion fatigue, and vicarious trauma

  • Increase our understanding and awareness of our potential symptoms

  • Minimize risks from work-related moral distress and post-traumatic stress

  • Create new dialogue around our professional responsibility to prioritize self-care

  • Do for yourself what you advocate for others

I GET IT!

I value trust, collaboration, and confidentiality. I believe that counselling is normal and healthy and I will honour your professional experiences.