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How to Prevent Syndromes of Burn-Out, Vicarious Trauma and Compassion Fatigue Among First Responders

paramedic team pushing stretcher
Published 09/08/2020
2 minutes read
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First responders are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, faced with uncertainty, a lack of support, and in some cases fear—all which contribute to emotional valence. There are behavioral cues that can indicate the onset of burn-out, vicarious trauma, and compassion fatigue that individuals and supervisors can learn to help interrupt these syndromes from developing.

Managing Mental Health and Self Care

Below are some insights from Dr. Diana Concannon, PsyD licensed psychologist, crisis response expert and Dean of the California School of Forensic Studies at Alliant International University, on ways law enforcement, security and first responders can manage mental health and self care.
 
Law enforcement, security, and first responders – those who regularly intervene with individuals who have committed or are victims of harm – have always been at higher risk for burn-out, vicarious trauma, and compassion fatigue.  As with so much else, the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified this risk. At the same time, the need to support resiliency in these workforces has never been more critical.  
 
There are behavioral cues that can indicate the onset of burn-out, vicarious trauma, and compassion fatigue that individuals and supervisors can learn to help interrupt these syndromes from developing.  There are also characteristics common to emergency responders that can be leveraged to support resiliency and well-being in the face of adversity.
 
Dr. Concannon has insights into what behavioral cues to watch out for to ensure that our essential workers aren’t burdened with the onset of mental health issues. Support is needed for these frontline workers to ensure that they do not succumb to burn-out, vicarious trauma, or compassion fatigue.

Advance Your Career

If you are considering career advancement in security or law enforcement and would like to learn more about how forensic behavior can help navigate complex issues faced by first responders, visit our Certificate in Fundamentals in Police Psychology for more information on our high-quality courses led by Dr. Concannon and other forensic experts.

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