PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A forum in Montgomery County focused on preventing suicide among emergency responders.
Keynote Speaker Janice McCarthy is the widow of a Massachusetts State Trooper who took his life after suffering with PTSD for many years.
McCarthy pointed out to the crowded auditorium, filled with dozens of law enforcement, they work daily on physical fitness, but then consider mental fitness a weakness.
Retired Pennsylvania State Trooper Govan Martin says there are two prongs working against first responders. First, no matter how heart-breaking or horrifying a scene is, emergency personnel cannot show normal human emotion on the job. But then with all those repressed thoughts, they feel as though they can’t seek therapy.
“Because if you do you’re seen as weak, you’re seen as crazy, you’re seen as not being able to handle the job.”
Tony Salvatore with Montgomery County Emergency Services says military suicides have raised awareness especially of PTSD, but he says suicide prevention goes beyond law enforcement and military, pointing out in the five county Philadelphia region there are more than 500 suicides a year.
Anyone who needs help should call the suicide lifeline at 800-273-8255 (TALK)