First responders and dealing with post-traumatic stress

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  • Published: 08/09/2018 11:39 AM

Firefighters see and deal with devastating events on a regular basis, and it can have lasting effects on their mental health. Crystal Murphy served as a firefighter and EMT for the Lacey Fire Department. After years of struggling with post-traumatic stress, she took her life on Christmas Day. "From a day-to-day perspective firefighters see a lot of things that no human should ever have to see," said Chief Bill Whealan with Benton County Fire District 4. "We see a lot of awful things and sometimes the only way to relieve that feeling is by talking about it." A study by the Ruderman Family Foundation shows first responders are more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty. Bonnie Benitz, a firefighter for 15 years and the only full-time woman in her department, says at times she feels like being a woman in the fire service can make it harder to be able to talk through the things they experience.


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