What mental health resources are available for first responders

Local News

LUBBOCK, Texas — During this pandemic, paramedics, nurses and doctors have worked overtime to keep us safe. Law Enforcement and medical professions are growing programs to support their mental and physical health during these trying times.

Hockley County’s Sheriff Ray Scifres said that while the pandemic pressed on, first responders and front-line workers served their communities tirelessly. These individuals have been working every step of the way.

“When you look at first responders, whether it be with EMS or fire or police, these are folks who continue to go out every single day. We didn’t have the option to work from home,” Scifres said.

Scifres also said he believes our community appreciates the work they’re doing. They are also members of our community who have a heavy weight to carry.

“It’s a physical and a mental toll. I think physical fatigue can weigh on you as well,” Scifres said. 

Scifres said that support from the community goes a long way. When people offer a simple ‘thank you’ or offers a moment of appreciation when it may be needed the most.

“The county itself does have an offering, so if we have someone who is maybe showing that they are mentally fatigued,” Scifres said. “Maybe they are showing signs of exhaustion or burnt out or something of that effect. We do have outlets.”

University Medical Center’s Emergency Medical Services Training Chief, Chad Curry, said many departments have partnerships with others to create more opportunities to support mental help and community support.

“There are a lot of great programs for them. The fire department and EMS work together. Police agencies have peer support,” Curry said.

Health Care Systems are also taking extra steps to grow and expand resources accessible for their staff and their families. University Medical Center’s Aaron Davis said mental health is one of their priorities for their medical staff.

“Specialists who are really trained therapists help walk people through very tough or difficult situations,” Davis said. “and as an extinction of that we’re actually in the process of hiring our first on-site permanent UMC EAP counselor so that we have their services right here within our 4 walls.”

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