Have been Bing'ing "PTSD + Dispatch(er)" and can find no articles written about PTSD and dispatching. But if you search "PTSD + Law Enforcement" you can find a plethora of articles. Naturally I skimmed through them to look for anything related to dispatchers.
But I did like this quote from a published article written by Paul G Brown from The Criminal Justice Institute, School of Law Enforcement Supervision, November 2003, entitled, "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Law Enforcement."
I quote, "We have all no doubt heard of police burnout. Usually police officers experience burnout after about eight to ten years of experience. After many years of seeing things on a daily basis that would make most people cringe, police officers begin to feel numb and feel that they have "seen it all". Nothing seems to affect them anymore. Their work and their attitude toward police work may suffer. Morale goes down and sometimes police officers relieve their stress by becoming increasingly violent toward citizens, suspects, and even their own families."
I submit the section could read like this, catered towards dispatchers:: "We have all no doubt heard of job burnout. Usually public safety dispatchers experience burnout after about five to seven years of experience. After many years of listening and hearing horrific things on a daily basis, for hours on end, that would bring the average person to tears, dispatchers begin to feel great levels of frustration, disassociation and think they have heard it all. After thousands of these calls they are less able to empathize with the callers, and thus unable to connect to be able to help to their fullest ability. Their work and their attitude toward police work and their co-workers begin to suffer. Morale goes down, Supervisors demand more, and too many times the dispatchers relieve their stress by becoming increasingly rude and belligerent toward citizens, callers, co-workers and even their own families."
Am not really saying anything new. Have discussed these very merits in previous blogs. But it is interesting that just the changing of job title and job description, the law enforcement officer PTSD (a diagnosis recognized) aligns perfectly to describe law enforcement dispatcher PTSD, something not recognized.
Am thinking of changing my major from Business/Marketing to Psychology. Think more research is needed in this area. And it is clear that so far no one is taking the issue seriously. Guess not enough dispatchers are committing suicide or physically hurting their family members over the stresses of their job to get the attention of someone who cares.
Also, in my humble opinion, dispatchers get so conditioned to being treated like a second class citizens in their job, they begin to discount their own personal feelings, ignore the physical stress symptoms, and don't share their experiences enough so others out there can be educated as to the level of stress and horror we are exposed to regularly.
Time for us dispatchers to speak up and be heard. Because I know I'm not the only one out there experiencing the symptoms of PTSD and having them over looked and ignored because my job title is dispatcher, not officer.