Although mental health treatments are available, first responders often do not access them, due to strong barriers such as lack of culturally competent clinicians, stigma and accessibility- or time-based burdens. Additionally, studies show that first responders are at higher risk to die by suicide than nonfirst responders (i.e., general population). \
“It is estimated that 30 percent of first responders develop behavioral health conditions including, but not limited to, depression and [PTSD], as compared with 20% in the general population. In a study about suicidality, firefighters were reported to have higher attempt and ideation rates than the general population. In law enforcement, the estimates suggest between 125 and 300 police officers commit suicide every year.” (https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/view/first-responders-and-mental-health-when-heroes-need-rescuing)
The PSWU is the City of Irving’s response to address the crucial need for our first responders to receive timely and specialized mental health services in an environment that promotes safety to ensure longevity and quality of life.