National First Responders Day

National First Responders Day

National First Responders Day is recognized annually and aims to honor the bravery of those who put their health and lives on the line daily for others. First responders include law enforcement officials, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and more. All of these individuals sacrifice a piece of themselves in an effort to help others in our country. 

Many first responders face daily stressors that can negatively impact their mental health. In a journal article by Jeff Thompson and Jacqueline M. Drew, a strong link between mental health disorders and first responders was found. Their studies showed first responders experience significantly higher rates than the general population of anxiety disorders, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),  alcohol and substance abuse, sleep disorders, and suicide.

Being a first responder might not only put one’s physical safety at risk, but their mental health as well. Due to this, it is important that as a community we provide resources and support to those at risk.

In the following we have outlined ways that first responders can take care of their mental health, as well as resources for those who might be struggling.

Practice Self Care

Many first responders often neglect to take care of themselves, as they likely put the needs of others before their own. However, it is important to realize that self care is not a selfish act. By taking care of yourself, you will in turn be able to take better care of those who you are serving. 

Self care can include a variety of things such as exercise, taking time for your hobbies, getting enough sleep, and more. Make time to learn about various self care practices and try to incorporate them into your routine.

Give Yourself Permission to Slow Down

Taking time to slow down and give your mind a chance to rest can help you give yourself a “reset” in the midst of your responsibilities. Learn to recognize that it is okay to rest, and that it is important to both your physical and mental wellbeing.

Remind Yourself of Your Purpose

While facing stressors, you might experience some moments that are more challenging than others. In these times it can be helpful to remind yourself of why you chose the career you are in. Reminding yourself of your purpose and desire to serve can help you overcome some of the stressors you might face. 

Crisis Lifeline

If you or a loved one is in a crisis, it is important to get help immediately. If in danger of suicide:

  • Call 911
  • Go to the nearest emergency room
  • Call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988

National Suicide Prevention Week

Learn More

To learn more about taking care of your mental health, we recommend contacting your health care provider. 

To read more about National First Responders Day and first responder health in general, the following resources are suggested:

NAMI “Frontline Wellness”:

NAMI “Every First Responder Deserves Solace”:

NAMI “As a First Responder, Your Health and Well-Being Are Key”: