Some associate post traumatic stress disorder with members of the military, but those on the frontlines at home also deal with it.
“I’m a retired firefighter myself, and after 20 years on the job I’ve seen two of my brothers lost to suicide and two other suicide attempts,” Robert Coleman said.
After several years, one bill finally passed through the West Virginia Legislature that lawmakers believe will save lives.
The bill is inspired by Coleman’s son, who took his own life after being diagnosed with PTSD from work-related trauma.
“After I retired, my oldest son, Chris, joined the fire department,” Coleman said. “He had five years on the job and two and a half years ago he took his life.”
In 2018, Coleman took time off in an attempt to get help, but used up all of his vacation and sick time.
“Then he was on no-pay status and he didn’t have much of a choice, he had to go back to work,” Coleman said. “He wasn’t quite ready for it.”