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The Mental Health Challenges Faced By First Responders

U.S. Air Force photo/Carol Lawrence

Persistent exposure to death and trauma puts firefighters, police officers, dispatchers, and paramedics at increased risk for negative mental health symptoms.

In this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer asks first responders how they go about tackling those challenges and how they get support for post-traumatic stress and depression related to their work.

Then, we examine why interest in becoming a police officer is down dramatically across the country as well as here in Iowa, and what’s being done about it.

Guests in today’s program include:

  • Officer Michael Harkrider of the Iowa City Police Department
  • Volunteer Fire Chief Mark McNees of the Atlantic Fire Department
  • Major Joe Leibold, Investigations Division Commander with the Waterloo Police Department
  • Johnson County Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek

Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River