Identifying stress on the job - WRBL

Identifying stress on the job

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Public safety professionals have some of the most stressful jobs Public safety professionals have some of the most stressful jobs
COLUMBUS, Ga. -

Being stressed out on the job isn't uncommon, especially in public safety, but there are ways to spot if you or someone you know needs help.

Police officers, firefighters and other professionals who protect us on a daily basis have some of the most demanding jobs in the world, and sometimes it can get to be too much. In Columbus they have access to mental health help through the Pastoral Institute.

Mayor Teresa Tomlinson says, "Public safety is always going to be a very stressful job. That's why there's so much training, that's why there's so much screening and continuing training, and so much oversight and evaluation of these officers."

Psychiatrist Dr. Kaizad Shroff says workplace stress is normal, but it's important to listen to your own body to determine if the stress is getting out of hand.

"Looking for biological signs of something going wrong is important," he says. "For example, not getting sleep, constantly ruminating on one point, getting excessively sensitive over something that you wouldn't have gotten sensitive about before, getting agitated for something simple."

Employers also play a key role in spotting stressed out employees. They must be aware of changes in behavior and attitude as some of the major warning signs. Columbus police know this well.

"They are looking with a trained eye towards seeing officers that are showing indications of either having poor judgement, showing signs of stress, depression or whatever it may be, and we regularly will relieve people," says the mayor.

Sometimes a stressed out worker bottles it up, making the situation worse. Dr. Shroff says it's very important not to self medicate.

"Alcohol tends to worsen things straight up," he says, "and it's almost the quickest path to disaster, along with illegal drugs."

Instead try to identify what's stressing you out and avoid those things. 

If you're feeling stressed Dr. Shroff suggests keeping a diary to record your feelings. That way it's easier to spot changes in your own behavior.

Jessi Mitchell

Jessi joined the WRBL news team in October 2012 after working as a freelance production assistant for MTV Networks in Los Angeles.
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