Social Work



Degree Name

Doctor of Social Work (DSW)

Type of Paper/Work

Banded Dissertation


Robin R. Whitebird


First responders are chronically exposed to traumatic events throughout their career. First responders in rural communities have unique experiences that make them more susceptible to poor mental health outcomes. Some of these experiences include strong ties to the community, the chance of responding to someone known personally to them, limited resources, and limited training. Since rural communities make up a large part of the U.S., and first responders in these communities compromise about 70% of the first responders population, it is important for mental health providers to understand and provide services for these individuals. Utilizing research already conducted with paid first responders, the Banded Dissertation focuses on the experiences of the rural first responder. Three products compromise the Banded Dissertation. The first is a conceptual paper that explores the prevalence of mental health outcomes of first responders’ exposure to traumatic events with a focus on volunteer fire fighters and EMT’s in rural communities. The article provides innovative ways for mental health professionals to utilize rural cultural values and norms to address barriers this population has to receiving services. The second is a research study that explored the current state of first responders in rural communities amid a global pandemic. The third product is a conference presentation that describes a traumavinformed, culturally sensitive approach to working with rural volunteer first responders after a traumatic experience.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.

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