The nature of the work of public service professionals – understood in the present context as including, but not limited to, police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, emergency dispatchers, and telecommunicators – exposes them to great amounts of suffering and trauma. Mental wellness is wavering for many in the field, and progressive, holistic support is needed. Public service professionals receive remarkable amounts of training to meet competencies within their role, but they are not provided with the same level of training to protect and serve themselves. Many factors contribute to decreased mental wellness in public service professionals, including the stoic culture, short staffing, low pay, and lack of public service resources. Against the argument that adequate and thorough mental health support is perceived to be expensive and a personal responsibility for individuals to seek if they need it, this paper argues that, given the staggering statistics regarding suicide, depression, and PTSD, the availability of resources, and the cost saving effects that promoting mental wellness and retaining employees has for companies, society’s approach to mental health must change. Moreover, the mental health of first responders in particular is a moral responsibility that must be supported through extensive education, community outreach, and the establishment and maintenance of a non-punitive culture.



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