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Survey reveals mental health struggles among NY first responders

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

A survey conducted by the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services revealed significant mental health challenges among 6,000 first responders. The assessment highlighted that 38% of respondents exhibited symptoms of PTSD, and many suffered from anxiety and depression.

Commissioner Jackie Bray emphasized the survey’s concerning findings, noting that 16% of first responders had contemplated suicide, a stark contrast to the 4% rate in the general population. Bray attributed these issues to the high stress and trauma first responders regularly encounter and highlighted the stigma surrounding seeking help.

Dr. Andrew Barry, a psychologist, pointed out that fear of judgment and workplace repercussions often prevent first responders from seeking assistance. The survey indicated that over 90% of participants believed free and accessible services like therapy and peer support groups would improve mental health. Programs such as NY CARES UP aim to support first responders, and those in need can contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

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