DENA ALI is a captain with the Raleigh (NC) Fire Department. Previously, she was a police officer in North Carolina for five years. She is a founding member of the Carolina Brotherhood and founder and director of North Carolina Peer Support. She has a master?s degree in public administration from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke; her research focused on firefighter suicide. She has an undergraduate degree from North Carolina State University. She teaches a class on suicide prevention at FDIC International.
Are our responses to trauma predictable? Why do different people react differently to trauma and stress? A common misconception is that response to stress occurs in a vacuum and the response is based solely on stress. The truth is that post-traumatic stress symptoms are normal responses to trauma that for most people will resolve and even lead to growth. Lack of support after the event is more predictive of PTSD than the trauma itself, and when recovery is inhibited, post-traumatic stress can lead to PTSD. However, safety and trauma are incompatible, and the greatest form of safety comes from the support of others. Nobody is immune from the effects of trauma. However, we all have the power to control how trauma shapes us and to move successfully through trauma and grief. This class will use evidence-based research to demonstrate that we have the power to manage our responses to trauma and adversity. Firefighters equipped with coping skills are much more likely to experience growth from adversity and trauma.
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