Some First Responders Suffer From PTSD

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Story by: James Buechele

Tallahassee, Fla.

A study from the University of Buffalo shows up to 18% of police officers suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

First responders like police, firefighters and EMT's can witness some horrifying scenes. Now, thanks to an upcoming documentary and a movement, some help could be coming to Tallahassee.

"Most law enforcement have some sort of negative mental impact whether it's simple stress all the way up to major stuff like PTSD and major depression," said MAJ Jim Russell of the FSUPD.

Russell, who's battled depression himself, says he's working with a clinician to possibly host workshops for first responders in the area.

"Learn some coping tools and some ways to deal with how to get through some of these episodes of PTSD and some things that happen along with that."

Deborah Ortiz is working on a documentary called "Code 9 Officer Needs Assistance." Her husband is a retired New York State Trooper who now suffers from PTSD.

"Our hope is to reach others and, you know, let them know that they too can get through it," said Ortiz in a phone interview.

Russell says it's important to create a new culture to help those battling serious mental health issues.

"Police officers or EMS or firefighters [need to] feel safe to ask for help and asking for help isn't going to mean you're going to be disciplined."

These workshops could be coming to Florida as early as this summer.

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