I am a psychiatric nurse practitioner, and also a wife of a firefighter/paramedic. I am conducting a research study titled: Building Partnerships with First Responders to Explore Strategies to Improve Delivery and Access of Mental Health Services


But first, a little background information:

  • First responders respond to more than 50 million emergency calls in the U.S. every year. While some of you may never respond to sentinel events like 9/11, the nature, frequency, and intensity of duty-related traumatic exposures can put you at risk of developing mental health problems, such as PTSD.
  • An estimated 18-37% of first responders meet criteria for PTSD. Also, risk for suicide is 25 times greater than that of the general populations; see current statistics at Firefighters Behavioral Health Alliance at ffbha.org.
  • This rate is equivalent to that found among Arkansas First Responders! Read results (pdf) from a study previously conducted in the state.

Despite the extent of this problem, however, we know that less than 40% of general populations who experience problems seek professional help.

  • We know that even more first responders do not report their problems or ask for help because of the stigma of having a mental health problem. There is also a shared “culture” of strength and self-reliance that inhibits you from seeking help.
  • This needs to change if we are ever going to effectively address these problems!

But first, more needs to be done to develop mental health services that YOU feel comfortable accessing and utilizing!

YOU are invited to participate this study to help us meet this need!


Who Is Being Asked To Be In This Study?

All firefighters and EMTs/Paramedics in Arkansas can participate in this study.

  • Whether you are paid or not paid for your services, that is, whether you work in a career or a volunteer department.
  • If you are a retired firefighter or EMT/paramedic.


Purpose Of This Study:

To learn more about first responders’ views about mental health, seeking help for mental health problems, and barriers to doing so.

This study will help us learn more about how to develop and implement mental health services that first responder will be willing to access and use.


What Does This Study Consist Of?

To learn more about first responders’ views about mental health, seeking help for mental health problems, and barriers to doing so, we are conducting focus groups and interviews with first responders. If you want more information about participating in an interview, you can:

  • Get more information (FAQs page)
  • Call Dr. Jones at 501-526-7846. Calling does not confirm your participation.
  • If you are interested in more information about the study, or participating in a focus group or interview, you can submit your information for me to contact you!
  • If you agree to participate, we will schedule you for a group at a location near you!


And Just To Clarify:

  • Your participation is voluntary.
  • You may refuse to take part or stop participation at any time without penalty.
  • Your choice to participate or not participate will not affect your employment status.


If you have any further questions about this study, please do not hesitate to call or email me (contact information below). You can also visit the FAQs page.

Also, please feel free to pass this information along to other first responders. The more participants we get, the better information we will have to address these needs!


Sara Jones, Ph.D., APRN, PMHNP-BC

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, College of Nursing
Office: 501-526-7846
Email: SLJones@uams.edu

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If you are actively feeling suicidal, please call 911 or the
Suicide Prevention Lifeline at: 1-800-273-8255

View currently available mental health services in the state. Please check back for updates of providers in your region.