First responders have a difficult job, and these days it's harder than ever. Admitting that they need help for psychological and emotional stress is not at all an easy task.
Often the deepest wounds come from emotional injuries that can be far more damaging than the physical trauma. For example, police across the country are suffering from PTSD, alcoholism, divorce, and suicide.
And now one group is helping police, firefighters, paramedics, and emergency medical personnel receive free and confidential psychological help and counseling for trauma serving on the front lines.
Former police officer and co-founder of 911 At Ease International, Sgt. Mike McGrew personally knows how traumatic working out in the field can be.
McGrew was a police officer for 31 years and has lived through the difficulties and devastation that come with the job.
Sgt McGrew told CBN News that the stigma placed on police officers since George Floyd's death has added tension to an already stressful job.
"There are tens of thousands of great, heroic acts that first responders do every day," he said. "To go out there and do a tough job and still have that kind of pressure on you is bringing a lot more issues to the first responders that are out there...especially the police officers."
The retired police officer explained that the organization is revolutionizing the way that first responders and their departments deal with emotional stress.
"We've been removing the barriers to allow people to go get the help and make a phone call that isn't connected with their department, city or county they work for - and people trust it," he said. "The first responders are able to reach out, talk to somebody that gets them lined up with a counselor free of charge and they're able to get the help they need."
"It's changing the culture, it's changing the conversation. Post-traumatic stress is an injury, so there's nothing wrong with someone going through the effects of an injury and getting help for it as well."
McGrew said he has seen the program change lives and restore relationships.
"We have a lot of testimonies of how this program has saved lives - people who were suicidal were able to go back and be resilient again. People who had marriages on the rocks have received help that they're so grateful for," he concluded.
Services offered by 911 At Ease International are free, confidential, and provided by counselors who are sensitive to the emotional distress that first responders experience.
To find out more, click here.
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