Posted by Gary O'Rielly on Aug 17, 2022
An extraordinary couple shared their experience on First Responders Mental Health. Dr. Brooke Lundquist who is in Private Practice working with Redmond Fire Department and the Seattle Police Department and Ryan Lundquist, MBA, Assistant Chief of Operations for the Snohomish Regional Fire and Rescue. Married for 18 years. They introduced each other and the work that they do and how that has overlapped into their jobs and marriage. First Responders see more trauma in one year of work than most people do in their lifetimes. Around 69% of First Responders do not have time to work through a trauma because they are on to the next trauma. Depression and PTSD - 30% suicidal which is 10% of the general public. Repeated exposure to trauma is more likely to cause mental health impact for first responders than a single incident. 
Stigmas behind seeking help is something that they are both working on to help first responders and others to reach out and seek help. The stigmas include confidentiality, schedules, levels of trauma, dark humor, desire to protect others, second family and sleep disturbance.
 
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder through research is providing more information on the risk. Suicide risk factor and protective factors are important. Ryan joined the Fire Service in 1997. Ryan talked about going to Oso (March 2014) with the idea that they were going to pull people out of their danger. Fourteen days digging for survivors was a very horrible experience. Ryan came home broken. Brooke was the catalysis to help him. I had little conversation with others during the drive home. 
 
Looking to change the attitude at the Snohomish Regional Fire and Rescue based on the trauma that Ryan went through at Oso. The Oso landslide of March 22, 2014 destroyed 49 homes, 44 deaths and eight rescues. Brooke works with several First Responder organizations in the area on the hazards of mental health and ways to help.