Edited by Ronald J. Burke and Silvia Pignata
The mental health of first responders relies on a victim-based framework expressed in psychiatric terms describing mental disorders. Expert guidelines that recommend four weeks of ‘watchful waiting’ of post-traumatic stress reactions contradict the emergency services’ ethos of rapid response in workers who encounter stressors, not as victims, but as cooperative teams attracted to the work. An occupational health and safety perspective that addresses pre-incident, operational and post-incident factors should see a dynamic picture emerge that is theoretically informed, legally compliant and realistic. The two examples of first responders in the voluntary and professional emergency services in South Australia, and the peer-support response to the terrorist attacks and Grenfell Tower fire in London are considered. An approach that reinterprets symptoms as reactions can turn the four-week waiting period into a time of fruitful crisis intervention that may prevent mental disorder and assure first responders of their mental health and well-being.
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.