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I have an involuntary psychiatric hospitalization from 10 years ago. Does that preclude me from working as an EMT?

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Before you ask-

Yes, I take the medication that's prescribed to me. Yes, I attend regular appointments with a psychotherapist and psychiatric physician. No, I don't use drugs or alcohol. No, I've never been convicted of a criminal offense. Yes, I'm employed, and have been employed continuously for several years. No, I don't have any history of violent behavior. No, I don't own any guns, and no, I'm not interested in guns. Probably about the most violent thing I've ever done in my entire life is go fishing. 

Yes, I graduated from a 4-year college (Occidental College, where Barack Obama went, with a 3.7 GPA including math, biology, and hard science classes [i.e. I am NOT mentally retarded]), and yes, I've been able to complete a one-year diploma (accounting/bookkeeping) since then. Yes, I'm aware that being an EMT isn't like how it is on TV, and the reality of it is that it's a stressful and emotionally draining line of work. So is working in restaurant kitchens, which I've been doing for the past three years (I previously worked in bookkeeping, I didn't like it, it's too solitary and boring, I don't like being overhead, and I like working with my hands). I was a pre-med student in college, but, obviously, that didn't work out for me. I've done extensive volunteer work in the past with a hospital, an animal shelter, a buddhist temple, and a food bank, if that makes any difference to you. Please forgive my defensiveness, but people can be rather judgmental toward 'the mentally ill' these days. That's understandable, but remember that almost 20% of Americans are 'on meds' by this point. Some people do eventually "get better" from that, but it takes a lot of work.  

I'm interested in becoming an EMT. I see all this stuff going on in the news, I get the impression most first responders have basically no clue how to deal with a 'mental patient,' other than kill them, or beat them up and tranquilize them, and I want to do something about it. However, I don't know how extensive of pre-employment background checks EMTs are subject to, and whether or not an involuntary psychiatric hospitalization from 10+ years ago would show up on one (let me repeat that I am NOT a criminal, I have no history of "violent behavior," and I have never been convicted of a crime other than minor traffic violations).

Are there lines of work in EMS that require more or less extensive background checks than others? 

Please forgive me if this question has been asked and answered elsewhere on the forums, but I was hoping someone with experience in the field might be able to answer it before I start investing time and money in the training.

Thank you for taking the time to read my post, and I appreciate any response you might have to offer! :)


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Your post indicates to me more of a desire to enhance the current education that first respondents currently possess about behavior emergencies rather than going into EMS.  Given your academic history, you seem to be in a great position to format your ideas into a program that would help everyone involved with patients experiencing an issue.   I would recommend seeking some ride-along time to understand the challenges of the first respondents to gain insight on the real views first respondents have about patients that suffer from psychiatric or behavioral emergencies.

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