VIDEO: When tragedy or disasters strike, first responders rush to the scene — often putting their own lives in danger.
Now there's a renewed focus in Boston to make sure that when emergency personnel head home, the traumatic images they witness on the job don't have dangerous or potentially deadly impacts on their mental well-being. “We have this hero kind of persona, the stigma is still real,” Boston Fire Lt. Sheila Leahy said.
Leahy is a peer supporter in the Boston Fire Department who is often tasked with starting a conversation with members who may not willingly admit they're struggling.
“If you're used to being the person who's always the helper to other people, it's very hard to reach out and say, ‘Hey I need help,’” Leahy said.
During the next month and a half, 1,500 Boston firefighters will be trained in suicide awareness thanks to the nonprofit Gelt Charitable Foundation that has designed a workshop specifically for first responders.