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Increasing call volume, stress taking toll on EMS providers

The Polk County EMS Director said the demands of the job are leading to depression and PTSD for some responders


By EMS1 Staff

POLK COUNTY, N.C. — An increasing call volume from overdoses to car crashes is putting additional stress on EMS providers.

WLOS reported that Polk County EMS responds to about 3,500 calls annually. EMS Director Michael Crater said the demands of the job are leading to depression and PTSD for some responders.

"We are people just like everybody else," Crater said. "We have stress at home, financial stress and the issues that everyone else on the planet has."

A study of 4,022 first responders published in the Journal of Emergency Services found that 37 percent of first responders die by suicide. According to the CDC, that's 10 times greater than the national average for adults in the U.S.

The Western North Carolina Peer Support Network is now providing support for responders after a critical incident.

Crater said he's had EMS personnel come forward and confide in him about what they've been dealing with.

"In similar situations, years ago it was a sign of weakness in public safety, but now it's a sign of taking care of yourself," Crater said.

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