Date of Graduation

Spring 5-2023

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Nursing and Health Professions

First Advisor

Kelly McDermott


First responders are at risk of developing mental health problems due to repeated exposure to traumatic incidents, increasing their chance of developing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, substance abuse, suicidal ideation, and suicide. Unfortunately, first responders do not recognize that they may have a mental illness and are reluctant to seek help. This paper will discuss the prevalence of mental health problems among first responders and the barriers to their help-seeking. These barriers include the stigma around mental illness within the culture, the assessability of professional help, and the lack of mental health literacy regarding their well-being. Further discussion will focus on California prehospital medical care personnel, which includes emergency medical technicians, paramedics, and firefighters. Current interventions for these first responders will be explained at policy, organizational, interpersonal, and individual levels. Recommendations to improve the intervention will follow. Increasing mental health literacy through education from the start of first responders' training and throughout their careers will reduce stigma, manage mental issues, and increase help-seeking.