RACINE- EMTs make up one of the most important parts of modern society, providing crucial medical care when nobody else can. Unfortunately, they are battling a silent enemy, much like the rest of the first responder profession. Mental health illness has become an epidemic in the EMT role; WTMJ4 reports that new bills designed to give new protections fell way short of the mark, leaving many EMTs unprotected. A complex set of reasons has created the mental health situation that EMTs find themselves in in modern Racine County, and there are several ways to help improve their health.

Financial security

EMTs are generally well paid in Racine. According to US News, at an average salary of $60,980, Racine is one of the best places in the country to become an EMT. However, with rampant inflation, rising house costs, and increasing costs of living, this money doesn’t always go as far as it should. Increasingly, public and private schemes such as the healthcare worker mortgage are making steps to bridge this gap. Financial security is one of the most frequently cited causes of poor mental health for all Americans, not just EMTs – taking an extra step towards providing for EMTs is a crucial way to improve their mental health and sense of resilience.

Mental health treatment

First responders have one of the most stressful jobs there are. Every day has the potential to bring something new and unexpected, and this can be difficult when it comes to mental health. However, diagnosis rates are not at the rate they should be; indeed, one 2013 study published in the World Journal of Emergency Medicine estimates that 20-22% of healthcare workers have some form of undiagnosed PTSD. EMTs are more overworked than they ever have been. Healthcare providers should take every step they can to bridge the care gap and provide for them by providing consummate care plans for mental health, and the opportunity, or tools, for EMTs to disengage after a day of caring for sick patients.

Exposure to toxins

Across the world, EMTs have faced one of the busiest years of their careers. A result of this is a lack of proper protective equipment; indeed, in LA, the LA Times reported an all-round shortage in January of this year. This has led to a greater incidence rate in the inhalation of toxins, pollutants, and other harmful chemicals, whether that be on the roads of cities or in particularly dangerous industrial accidents. This can have an impact on mental health: some forms of depression and anxiety have been linked to the inhalation of lung and brain-damaging chemicals. Both for their own sense of wellbeing and the prevention of physical ailments, EMTs must be provided with the proper equipment they need to protect themselves on the job.

These aren’t necessarily difficult strands to pull together. The system of support and care that EMTs so desperately need can be achieved without too much upheaval. Instead, a shift in understanding is needed to improve public perception.