Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Peer Support Works for Traumatized Firefighters. (Interventions Not Always Necessary)

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Peer Support Works for Traumatized Firefighters. (Interventions Not Always Necessary)

Article excerpt

BALTIMORE -- When firefighters experience a traumatic event, most cope with their emotions by talking with their colleagues, Roderick Orner said at the annual meeting of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies.

They do not need treatment, medication, or therapy. They have their own intuitive and highly effective coping strategies. Instead, peer support is the cornerstone of early intervention for firefighters and other emergency workers," Mr. Orner said.

"Maybe we should ask those who have had trauma if they need help and what that help should be," suggested Mr. Orner, a consultant clinical psychologist with the Lincolnshire Partnership of the National Health Service Trust in Lincoln, England.

Mr. Orner based his recommendations on his findings from two survey questionnaires completed by 217 emergency services workers in England. The emergency workers included firefighters, police, and ambulance drivers as well as social and health care workers.

All the emergency workers were asked to recall the worst event they had ever witnessed on the job and then to rate its emotional intensity. One hundred and fifty-eight (72.8%) described the distress they felt at the time of the index event as "marked or overwhelming. …

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