In what has been hailed a “world-first”, a group of Australian clinicians and researchers have developed national guidelines for the treatment and diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder in frontline emergency workers.
At least 8,000 police, fire and ambulance officers are believed to be living with post-traumatic stress disorder — or PTSD, as it’s commonly known.
The guidelines’ lead author, Doctor Sam Harvey from University of New South Wales and the Black Dog Institute, said the nature of work in the emergency services meant people were repeatedly exposed to traumatic events.
“We know that about 10 per cent of current emergency service workers have PTSD, and we suspect the rate is even higher if you consider retired emergency service workers,” he said.
“PTSD is different among emergency workers in the way that it presents… and often the treatment needs to be different… and that is why we have made the new guidelines specific to emergency workers.