LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) – Fatal car crashes, like the one that happened last weekend, are traumatic for all family, friends and even first responders. Here in Lawton, first responders can find help managing their mental health from an Oklahoma-based nonprofit.
Often, first responders run out of adrenaline when they arrive at a traumatic scene. They focus on memorizing their workout to possibly save a life. First responders don’t know what they will see when they arrive on the scene or what will stay with them.
“We try not to take our work home, but it doesn’t always work out that way. It’s really hard to let go of a situation like that, especially when you’re working in a situation like that. So that’s the goal of this team, is that we want to teach people. You don’t have to take it with you, you can go home and you can deal with this and you can have people who are there to help you through this and healthy coping mechanisms,” the director said. paramedic and assistant manager of Kirk’s Ambulance Sandra Sand. .
Eddie Rice is a paramedic and founder of the mental health portion of Heartland Medical Direction. He said the trauma that comes with being a first responder drove one of his close friends to take his own life.
“And I managed to get out of my situation and unfortunately he took his own life. So it just lit a fire under me to give people the opportunity to have peers even if they think it’s is all alone, there will always be someone there for them,” Rice said.
Dena Williams is a Certified Counselor for Heartland Medical Direction. She said first responders are more likely to commit suicide than die in the line of duty, due to the trauma they are constantly exposed to. She said flashbacks and nightmares are some of the symptoms they treat, but there are other ways to tell if you’re dealing with trauma.
“I think incisive thoughts are essential. If you can’t concentrate or keep having these incisive thoughts about the incident. Lack of sleep is a big indicator, along with isolation, avoidance, substance abuse, and all kinds of addictive behaviors,” Williams said.
Law enforcement, firefighters, EMS, and dispatchers can all request help through the Heartland Medical Directions peer support team.
Dial 405-876-7090 (Option 4).
Veterans can call the Veterans Crisis Line: 800-273-8255 (option 1) or text 838255.
Anyone can call, text or chat with 988.
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