ROSCOE, Ill. (WTVO) – The recent death of Illinois State Trooper Gerald Mason has sparked conversation about first responder’s mental health.
First responders are one and a half times more likely to commit suicide. One local group said that their mission is to raise awareness on the problem.
Mason’s recent suicide hit home for Brad Lindmark, who’s brother Greg Lindmark, a Rockford Police officer, killed himself in 2015. Brad created the Greg Lindmark Foundation in his honor, and the goal is to help others that are going through the same thing.
“It is a huge problem in this country,” Lindmark said. “I mean, three reported suicides by first responders in the United States each day, and that is just the reported ones, so that number is at least double that. [Greg] served his 30 years, and served the community well, very active with victims and families, always watching out for somebody, but did not take time to watch for himself. The family wanted to try and help someone, and prevent this from happening to another family.”
Kevin Ogden, a retired former Rockford Deputy chief, worked with Greg.
“I think it all boils down to the types of situations that the first responders and law enforcement are expected to handle, and the scenes they respond to, when they show up on these scenes, most times they are the first people right there dealing with the impact, and seeing people at their worst,” Ogden said. “They take that with them. You can not leave that in your locker at work at the end of the day when you go home.”
Lindmark said that it is important to support first responders, to prevent another tragedy from happening.
“For a country like ours, for this to be happening, for people that are out there helping us, it is tragic and more people, more foundations, more groups, need to be reaching out and helping,” Lindmark said.