PTSD is not exactly a topic that is talked about in public and even LESS in the emergency services. Yet FIRST RESPONDERS may have the biggest risk of PTSD. These courageous men and women put their own lives on the line every single day – yet there is much more going on behind the scenes. The trauma, job pressure, and intense situations build up year after year. So much that many of them find themselves in some of the most challenging situations of their lifetime. Carl Waggett battled these forces for over five years, and then when his friend and coworker Gene committed suicide – this was the tipping point! Carl, like so many others, had not a clue of what PTSD even was – YET HE HAD IT! Fireman Carl Waggett has been an active firefighter for 14 years as well as an acting captain for 4 of those years. Luckily he did seek help, and now he is a man on a mission. He wants to help others, specifically: Firefighters, Police, Paramedics/EMS, Correctional Officers, Military Personnel, anyone that has experienced or witnessed human suffering!
Instead of all the doom and gloom, Carl has a real solution. “I have started a short campaign, only 30 days to raise money. The idea, to be able to bring Doctors into the home of emergency service workers as well and military vet via video chats. With isolation being one of the biggest warning signs of PTSD, an idea like this one could stop many from ending up like my good friend Gene did.”
Mental health experts confirm that the stigma attached to seeking help stops many firefighters, police and paramedics from reaching out for professional assistance. ‘PTSD for Firefighters is real. If your loved one is experiencing signs get them help quickly. 27 years of deaths and babies dying in your hands is a memory that you will never get rid of. It haunted me daily until now. My love to my crews. Be safe, take care. I love you all.’” says Fire Rescue Battalion Chief David Dangerfield on his Facebook page.
According to the International Association of Firefighters:
- PTSD is a serious and chronic condition that can ruin the careers of firefighters and paramedics, destroy families and jeopardize public and firefighter safety.
- Approximately 20 percent of firefighters and paramedics have PTSD, according to the Journal of Occupational Health.
- Nearly half of the firefighters surveyed, 46.8 percent, have thought about suicide,19.2 percent had suicide plans and 15.5 percent had made suicide attempts, according to a 2015 Florida State University study
- People with PTSD are six times more likely to attempt suicide compared to demographically matched controls.
Carl’s Website, http://www.ptsdbunkergearforyourbrain.com
PTSD Awareness Campaign, https://startsomegood.com/ptsd-suicide-reach-out