This is something that we have talked about since day one. Finding a family of a first responder who took their own life has been hard for us, but we need someone, a face, to represent the large group of men and women who suffer from on the job stress. I am not talking about the kind of on the job stress you get at the office… these people see real trauma and experience it themselves so badly that many of them have flashbacks, depression, and PTSD. Imagine the distress experienced by first responders after the scene of a gruesome accident. Imagine how the officer who responded to Chaney’s overdose felt. Imagine again how the officer who was here because she was in trouble the night before felt. These are things that these men and women experience. Even a nice calm week leads them to thinking about the experiences they have, and that calm turns into turbulence inside of their minds.
By Chaney’s Hands wants to be involved with first responders helping them develop methods of support that they can use when they are experiencing those sorts of down moments. We have an entire section set up for discussion of problems seen in first responders on the Working Together Network.
Things are even worse for military veterans. It is also important to remember that a lot of first responders are military veterans. They need more support systems in place to help them through the cycles they go through mentally.
We are not known well enough in our area to have been a part of this meeting and conversation, but hopefully, one day we will be at that level… and beyond that.
WPSD Local 6 did a story on first responders and the problems they go through. This is just one more reason that we need funding. Personal donations account for ALL of our funding at this time, and we do what we do on an all-volunteer basis… but we want to become serious leaders in this field.
In order to pull that off, we have to pull all resources we have together, and collaborate. Advocacy groups, awareness groups, support groups, professionals, psychologists, and anyone else whose work involves suicide prevention should be communicating and developing new strategies and concepts for handling mental illness, situational depression, and PTSD.