Without a doubt, the COVID-19 epidemic added fuel to the fire by dramatically increasing the number of calls sent to emergency services, putting an unprecedented strain on the mental health of dispatchers.
The danger for most people is now decreased, but the situation hasn’t improved much because of the mounting backlog of delayed treatments and chronic diseases, as well as the high work volumes caused by the combined “Twin-demic” of COVID and the flu. Nurses, ambulance dispatchers, and paramedics are taking unprecedented strike action because of these and other problems plaguing the NHS, which has led to record-high employee vacancies.
Mental Stress from being in a Demanding Situation
It was already obvious before the pandemic that the emergency response workforce was under a tremendous amount of stress and strain.
UK emergency responders are more vulnerable to have mental health disorders including anxiety, sadness, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to research conducted at Kings College London, the Open University, and The Royal Foundation.
Similarly, a study undertaken by researchers at Ryerson and York University indicated that those working in the control room are just as likely to suffer from mental health issues as their peers who react to emergencies on the ground. In fact, it discovered that certain people’s trauma levels may be elevated because of their separation from the incident and the resulting lack of control and resolution.
‘Levels of trauma may be heightened for some individuals due to their remoteness from the scene and their consequent lack of agency and closure’
According to other research, emergency responders are more vulnerable to developing PTSD and C-PTSD (C-PTSD). Twenty-five percent of blue light personnel, for instance, have thought about suicide, and more than two-thirds (63%) have pondered quitting their jobs due to mental health issues or stress.
Organizations like the Blue Light Project are helping to bring attention to the mental health issues faced by emergency responders. The program highlights the significance of lowering the stigma associated with mental health concerns, promoting general well-being, and enhancing the accessibility of mental health services for safety personnel.