Save Your Inner Tortoise: Learn to Cross the Finish Line Joyful and Satisfied. Bloomington, IN: Balboa Press. Coutu, D., & Kauffman, C. (2009).
Author: Kevin William Grant
Publisher: Kevin William Grant
Stress, anxiety, depression, trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bullying, and burnout have all become “accepted realities” for first responders in the modern workplace. This workbook unpacks contemporary workplace realities, educates you about trauma, and helps you build your personalized recovery plan for transformation, recovery, and healing. This recovery program has eight core purposes: Validate your current situation. This recovery program begins by validating your experiences and breaking through any denial you may be experiencing by examining all the ways you could be traumatized at work. Identify your realities. Once you understand how you’ve been traumatized, you’ll learn about how trauma develops and how to break through the defenses that protect you from the painful experiences you’re facing. Understand workplace trauma. Armed with a deeper understanding of what trauma is, how it develops, and how you react to trauma, you will be able to identify the support you’ll need to heal and recover. Build your recovery team and develop your action plan. Useful tools and techniques will help you connect with and build your team of support professionals and advocates. Once you begin working with your team, you’ll start the recovery process by acquiring a set of skills and techniques to help you weather the storm and begin healing. Grieve, mourn, and let go. Recovery will take you on a journey of grieving, mourning, and letting go, which will transport you to a new sense of calm and acceptance. I’ll break down this journey into the stages you’ll travel through to get to the other side. Maintain your recovery. Finally, I’ll share helpful ways to maintain your recovery, manage setbacks with compassion, and track your progress so you can proactively navigate the inevitably choppy waters as you continue your healthy and productive recovery. Adapt and adjust to the impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The COVID-19 global Pandemic has left a lasting impact on all our lives. This section will review the Pandemic’s mental health, physical health, and social implications with helpful tools and techniques to help you manage the trauma and stress the Pandemic brings. In addition, gems of wisdom and learnings within the research literature will help you navigate the Pandemic and Post-Pandemic worlds effectively. Learn interactively with workbook exercises. Workbook exercises will help you digest the content, reflect on your situation, learn from that reflection, and incrementally create a personalized recovery plan. Each exercise in the workbook walks you through a process of self-reflection and self-discovery to help you understand and make sense of your situation. First Responder Careers Expose Individuals to Higher Risks of Developing Trauma Some careers include a higher likelihood of experiencing traumatic events that can lead to the development of PTSD. Serving in the military is a high-risk factor for developing PTSD. However, combat veterans develop PTSD at different rates depending on the severity and length of exposure to traumatic experiences. There are also high incidences of reported sexual harassment and sexual abuse in the military. As a result, the rates of PTSD are relatively high compared to the overall prevalence in the general population. Not only can law enforcement officers experience direct threats and stressful conditions, but they also regularly witness the devastating effects of assaults, robberies, kidnappings, and violent events. However, individuals in this profession have lower-than-expected rates of PTSD, surprisingly. An estimated 20 percent overall may result from having access to counseling and rigorous pre-employment screenings. EMTs and paramedics are routinely exposed to life-threatening incidents and have more health problems than individuals in other occupations. PTSD rates in this group are as high as 20 percent. PTSD prevalence in this profession is comparable to law enforcement. Firefighters conduct paramedic activities and are the first responders to natural disasters. Firefighting is a dangerous profession that exposes workers to stressful conditions and traumatic events, ranging from threats to their safety and experiencing the devastating effects of catastrophes. As a result, the prevalence of PTSD in this group can be as high as 20 percent. Volunteer firefighters may have even higher rates because they don’t have access to the same level of support as career firefighters. Healthcare workers, especially those working in emergency rooms and intensive care units, are also at higher risk. For example, nurses working in critical care units are more likely to develop PTSD than nurses in other groups. In addition, while senior-level nurses report fewer PTSD symptoms than junior ones, they report higher rates of burnout. Finally, healthcare workers exposed to patients that have experienced violence, such as an assault victim, are more likely to develop PTSD than surgeons who treat assault victims. Rescue workers, medical workers, and volunteers who act as first responders during disasters witness the aftermath of horrific events and can even become involved in severe traumatic events. The prevalence of PTSD in these individuals has been estimated to be between 15 and 30 percent. Journalists who work as war correspondents are at higher risk of being injured, killed, or kidnapped. Their lifetime prevalence of PTSD, which can be as high as 30 percent, reflects their lack of access to support and PTSD treatment options. Transit and train operators are frequently exposed to physical threats and witness suicide incidents such as “person under train” events. Exposure to these traumatic and threatening circumstances can be a daily or weekly occurrence. Bus drivers are more prone to PTSD because they have more direct contact with the general public than train drivers locked in secure train cabs. In these high-risk professions, the incidence of trauma declines when policies are in place to debrief victims, give victims immediate access to counseling, and screen for individuals at high risk of having adverse reactions to traumatic conditions.