Four Corners Behavioral Health to address Compassion Fatigue and Self Care for First Responders

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Over the past months, the community has been rocked with several high-profile tragedies. For every high profile incident, there are smaller, just as painful losses happening every day. Overdoses, suicides and other community misfortunes not only affect those directly involved, but take their toll on the police, firefighters, first responders ER and other medical personell who deal with these on an almost daily basis.

To help people understand the enormity of the issue, Karne Dolan, Exceutive Director of Four Corners Behavioral Health in Price provided the following information:In 2011 there were 350 suicides statewide and this past year there were 540. These numbers likely underrepresent the true total due to the fact that they really only count the deaths as a suicide where they are completely certain the person was trying to kill themselves.

Dolan said that they have put together a workshop in response to the pressure they know these responders are under.She explained the reason for the upcoming workshop, “We really believe our caregivers and first responders need and deserve this support.” The Compassion Fatigue and Self Care for First Responders workshop will take place on April 4, 2013 from 1-3 pm. It is specifically for first responders like EMT’s crisis workers, ER staff, police and sheriff deputies. Four Corners, in conjunction with the U of U, is providing this because of all of the recent deaths due to overdoses, suicides and homicides.

“It’s a tragedy because there was a study of survivors of those who had jumped off the golden Gate Bridge and the majority of them had changed their minds after jumping; they really didn’t want to die, they only wanted the emotional pain to end,” Dolan said about the issue of suicide.

Compassion Fatigue, often referred to as Secondary Trauma, will be the topic. The workshop will define Compassion Fatigue, identifying how it impacts those on the front lines. Then they will go on to review the signs and symptoms of compassion fatigue, address prevention, and provide several ideas on how to respond to and prevent compassion fatigue. Tina Halliday, LCSW, who works at the University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute will be the presenter for the workshop. The workshop is not open to the public as spaces are limited. Price City Police Chief Kevin Drolc said he was planning on sending many of his officers to attend. Dolan wants people to remember, “We have great treatment for anxiety and depression as well as most other mental illnesses and addictions. People can also seek help from local public or private providers.”

If you or someone you know needs help, please contact Four Corners or your family physician for referrals and help.

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