A recent survey conducted by Project HEROES (Houston Emergency Opioid Engagement System), shows statistics on how the pandemic has affected the Texas EMS workforce and other first responders.
The Department of State Health Services said the results are not surprising but are "concerning."
Project HEROES received 1,467 responses and found the following results:
- 60% of the surveyors said they currently exhibit symptoms of a significant mental disorder, frequently including physical symptoms, sleep disturbance, and anger.
- 58% of respondents who are experiencing or diagnosed with a mental health disorder are or have been treated
- 24% of respondents who have a substance use disorder (SUB) has sought treatment
- Over 50% said they engage in binge drinking
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Shiftwork, long hours, unpredictability, compassion fatigue are things that EMS professionals must endure all of these increase the chances of needing to seek out support for mental health or substance use disorder.
DSHS wants to help first responders and teach them to Recognize, Approach and Support.
- Recognize that there is free CE training SUB in the first responder workforce
- Approach: Share/ call the HEROES helpline you can discuss counseling privately and confidentially as well as seek treatment
- Support: Provide/accept support through the healing process
If you or someone you know is having mental health or substance abuse issues you can call 1-800-662-HELP (4357), this number is for all people including first responders.