University of Phoenix Survey Finds Majority of First Responders Have Experienced Symptoms Related to Mental Health Issues

Many feel mental health counseling is available, however stigmas may
deter some from receiving the help they need

PHOENIX–(BUSINESS WIRE)–A recent University
of Phoenix® College of Social Sciences
survey revealed 85
percent of first responders have experienced symptoms related to mental
health issues, and one in three (33 percent) have received a formal
diagnosis of a mental health disorder, such as depression or
post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Additionally, the vast majority
of first responders surveyed (84 percent) said they have experienced a
traumatic event on the job.

“This high percentage of first responders experiencing traumatic events
in their jobs makes it especially important to provide them access to
mental health services, such as screenings and treatment programs, and
for their employers to encourage workers to seek help if needed,” said
Samantha Dutton, Ph.D., MSW, program director for University of Phoenix
College of Social Science. “It is also essential that providers help
first responders learn how to address stress that comes from experiences
they encounter on the job to reduce chances of worsening mental health.”

Although the survey found approximately half of first responders have
participated in pre-exposure mental health training (51 percent) and
“Psychological First-Aid” after an incident (49 percent), that still
leaves half without any pre- or post-training or mental health support
after an incident. Additionally, 69 percent of first responders say
mental health services are seldom or never utilized at their

The survey shows that first responders believe there are stigmas
associated with seeking mental health help on the job, with nearly two
in five (39 percent) first responders saying there are repercussions for
seeking help at work. The perceived repercussions include:

  • Thinking a supervisor will treat the first responder differently (50
  • Being viewed as weak by colleagues (45 percent)
  • Being looked over for promotions (39 percent)

“As a community, we must erase the stigma around receiving mental health
treatment and organizations employing first responders should promote
mental wellbeing – not just after a traumatic event but even from the
effects of routine stress on the job,” Dr. Dutton added. “It is better
to prevent than to allow work-related pressures build up, which could
lead to more serious mental health needs.”

University of Phoenix operates eight counseling centers in six states
(California, Michigan, Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Colorado) that offer
free services to members of the community. For more information or to
set up an appointment, visit

to find full results from the first responders’ mental health survey.


This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Poll on
behalf of University of Phoenix between Feb. 2–21, 2017, among 2,004
U.S. adults aged 18 and older, who are employed as either a firefighter,
police officer, EMT/paramedic, lifeguard or nurse. Figures were weighted
where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in
the first responder population. Propensity score weighting was also used
to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

About University of Phoenix® College of
Social Sciences

University of Phoenix College of Social Sciences offers programs in
human services, psychology and counseling. The college’s curriculum
seeks to empower individuals who wish to enhance their skills for career
entry or enhancing current roles in the helping professions. Curriculum
is regularly updated to meet national and state professional standards.
University of Phoenix College of Social Sciences faculty members are
experienced professionals, holding advanced degrees. Many sit on state
licensure and accreditation boards, as well as professional committees.
For more information, visit

About University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix is innovating to help working adults move
efficiently from education to careers in a rapidly changing world.
Flexible schedules, relevant and engaging courses, and interactive
learning can help students more effectively pursue career and personal
aspirations while balancing their busy lives. As a subsidiary of Apollo
Education Group, Inc., University of Phoenix serves a diverse student
population, offering associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree
programs from campuses and learning centers across the U.S., as well as
online throughout the world. For more information, visit


University of Phoenix
Angela Heisel, 602-557-8650