Document Type


Publication Date



First responders, especially those without adequate support, are at heightened risk for experiencing adverse mental health outcomes. Workplace mental health interventions for first responders are becoming more common. However, systematic research within the field of communication has not typically informed the development of these workplace interventions. The current study conducted interviews with 26 first responders to examine the messages they receive about mental health from their organizations and how those messages affect their support-seeking decisions. Analysis of the interviews revealed that first responders receive inconsistent messages from their departments about whether to seek support for mental health-related problems, creating confusion and distrust.


This is an Accepted Manuscript version of the following article, accepted for publication in Western Journal of Communication in 2023 at It is deposited under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Taylor & Francis

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

Available for download on Saturday, March 29, 2025