Prevalence of Suicide Risk Factors among Emergency Medical Services Providers in Utah

Update item information
Identifier 2017_Mills
Title Prevalence of Suicide Risk Factors among Emergency Medical Services Providers in Utah
Creator Mills, Gordon
Subject Advanced Practice Nursing; Education, Nursing, Graduate; Systems Analysis; Suicidal Ideation; Suicide; Prevalence; Risk Factors; Emergency Medical Technicians; Stress, Psychological; Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic; Alcoholism; Social Support; Surveys and Questionnaires; Utah
Description Emergency Medical Services (EMS) providers suffer a higher rate of suicide than the general population. National statistics show an age adjusted rate of 13.0 suicides per 100,000 in the general population. However, EMS providers have been shown to have suicide rates of 17.2 to 30.5 suicides per 100,000. Due to the alarmingly high rate of suicide among EMS providers, understanding the risk factors specific to this cohort is vital in preventing suicide. EMS providers face the same suicide risk factors as the general public based on gender, age, and co-morbid psychiatric disorders. However, there appears to be additional risk factors for EMS providers which work synergistically to increase suicide risk. These additional risk factors are post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), alcohol abuse, and access to lethal means. The literature supports high rates of PTSD and alcohol abuse among EMS providers nationally. Evidence shows that EMS providers suffer a PTSD rate up to 8 times that of the general population. Alcohol abuse among EMS providers is 5 times that of the general population. Finally, access to lethal means is a known risk factor for completed suicides. Access to firearms is highly associated with completed suicides, with over 60% of suicides in the United States completed by firearm. There is a deficiency of prevalence data for PTSD, alcohol abuse, and access to lethal means among Utah EMS providers. A few local departments have conducted short surveys collecting some data about PTSD. No published data exists examining all three risk factors together. The purpose of this project was to collect suicide-related prevalence data regarding PTSD, substance abuse, and access to lethal means from Utah EMS providers. The project was accomplished through the following objectives: (1) collaboration with Utah EMS providers and stakeholders to develop a survey plan, (2) development and implementation of the survey of Utah EMS providers, (3) analysis of the data for significant findings, and (4) dissemination of the findings to EMS stakeholders who are in position to take action on the data. Evaluation of these steps was accomplished through successful development of the survey, timely conduction of the survey, and dissemination of the results and suicide prevention resources to stakeholders. Over 1,300 licensed Utah EMS providers participated in the survey. A significant portion (25.5%) of participants met American Psychological Association criteria for PTSD. However, substantially more (55.6%) exhibited symptoms of PTSD. Utah EMS providers had a higher rate of risky alcohol use than the general population (12% v. 8%). Lastly, a substantially high proportion of providers had access to firearms (76%) and high-risk medications. One in ten providers had all three risk factors in place. Risk factor prevalence data is a foundational key in the prevention of suicide. Suicide-related risk factor prevalence data is sorely lacking among Utah EMS providers. This is a group of individuals who are not accustomed to asking for help. Therefore, collecting this data will aid in the development of further discovery and intervention programs to assist those who dedicate their lives in assisting others.
Relation is Part of Graduate Nursing Project, Doctor of Nursing Practice
Publisher Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library, University of Utah
Date 2017
Type Text
Rights Management © 2017 College of Nursing, University of Utah
Holding Institution Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library, University of Utah
Collection Nursing Practice Project
Language eng
ARK ark:/87278/s63j79f5
Setname ehsl_gradnu
Date Created 2017-11-09
Date Modified 2018-01-08
ID 1279413
Reference URL https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s63j79f5
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