Helping paramedics endure trauma

Seniors Daily Exercise

It is estimated that 1 in 4 paramedics are at risk for developing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) related to their exposure to traumatic calls – a rate that is higher than among firefighters or police. Debriefing reactions to traumatic events with peers holds potential for mitigating the negative effects of these experiences. However, few studies have been conducted with paramedics. In a qualitative study, IHLCDP Associate Cheryl Drewitz-Chesney explored peer communication and support among paramedics following traumatic calls. Factors influencing paramedic communication and their ability to process experiences in responding to traumatic emergency calls included norms related to sharing emotions, acknowledgement of links between PTSD and risk of suicide, and provision of peer support programs by employers. This research was completed as part of a Masters of Public Health at the University of Edinburgh.