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Feeling down or sad is a normal part of life,

but when the bad days begin to pile up and you have trouble remembering the last time you felt truly happy, there might be something more serious going on. If you have a persistently low mood that you can’t seem to shake, you could be suffering from depression. Depression is a mental health disorder that affects your emotions and makes it difficult to enjoy life to the fullest, but with treatment, it can get better.

At First Responder Wellness, we know how difficult it can be to live with depression. Our goal is to help law enforcement, firefighters, EMT’s, dispatch, corrections and other public safety professionals treat their mental health symptoms so they can get back to doing what they love. Our culturally competent clinical team will help you get back on track and build a strong foundation for lasting recovery.

What is Depression?

Although we all feel down sometimes, depression is much more than simply having a bad day. Depression is a chronic mood disorder that permeates every aspect of life, causing intense feelings of sadness, hopelessness and apathy. These symptoms are so severe that it’s often difficult to just get out of bed, let alone find the motivation to go to work, be social or manage daily responsibilities. During a depressive episode, harmful and negative thoughts take over and can persist for days or weeks, depending on the kind of depression you experience. Some common symptoms include:

    • Decreased mood and often feeling sad or empty
    • Lack of energy and motivation
    • Increased irritability
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Changes in sleep patterns and appetite
  • Feeling lost, hopeless and anxious
  • Loss of interest in hobbies
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Intensely negative thoughts and feelings
  • Physical symptoms (aches, pains, etc.)

Although most of us experience many of these symptoms at some point in our lives, they usually aren’t severe enough to interfere with our ability to function. Depression can be debilitating and often requires professional help or guidance to overcome; otherwise, it may lead to worsening symptoms and an increased risk of substance use or self-harm.

How are Depression and Addiction Related?

Despite being one of the most common mental health disorders, depression is still stigmatized, and many avoid seeking help for this reason. The consequences of untreated depression can be severe and may include a greater chance of developing a co-occurring Alcohol or substance use disorder. Nearly one-third of individuals with depression also struggle with alcohol or substance misuse, but whether this occurs from changes in the brain or self-medication isn’t clear.

Treating Depression at First Responder Wellness

At First Responders Wellness, our program has been carefully designed to address the full scope of each client’s physical, emotional and mental health needs to ensure comprehensive mental health care. During their time in treatment, patients will have the opportunity to explore their depression and establish effective strategies for managing symptoms, triggers and more. Since first responders are regularly exposed to dangerous and disturbing situations, we also focus on helping clients develop healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with stress, trauma and other difficult feelings. Some of the treatments we use include:

  • Individual and group therapy
  • Proven psychotherapies (CBT, EMDR, etc.)
  • Integrated mental health care
  • Trauma services
  • Stress management
  • Coping and life skills development
  • Chemical dependency education
  • Reintegration process
  • Continuum of care
  • Neurofeedback

We understand that there is more than one path to wellness, so our treatment plans are highly individualized and tailored toward the unique needs of first responders. Our goal is to help each client manage their mental health symptoms and create a strong foundation for lasting improvement upon which they can rebuild a successful life.