PTSD is a type of anxiety disorder which you may develop after being involved in, or witnessing, traumatic events. Because of repeated exposure to traumatic events, emergency services staff and volunteers are more at risk of developing PTSD.
Sometimes it’s not necessarily the ‘big’ traumatic incidents, but the smaller ‘everyday’ traumas that have the biggest impact. When you go through something traumatic it's understandable to experience some symptoms associated with PTSD afterwards. But if your symptoms last for longer than a month, you might be given a diagnosis of PTSD.
If you experience some PTSD symptoms while supporting someone close to you who's experienced trauma, this is sometimes known as ‘secondary trauma’. Friends and family of blue light staff and volunteers can be particularly at risk of developing secondary trauma.