ROSCOE, Ill. (WTVO) — People across the country remember on Monday the first responders who lost their lives during the 9/11 attacks.
The World Trade Center Memorial Wall continues to have names added to it, as 43 FDNY members who have succumbed to post-9/11 illnesses were added this year.
More first responders in the United States die from suicide than in the line-of-duty. Trauma, stress and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can all affect these everyday heroes.
“The one thing that people need to realize, our first responders are there for us every day when they go to work,” said Brad Lindmark, president of the Greg Lindmark Foundation.
First responders are the heroes in every community, but the situations that they are called into can be dangerous.
“Memories of the event, dreams or flashbacks, avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma,” said Dr. Aru Lakritz, a psychologist at OSF HealthCare.
These are all things that can trigger PTSD. It is something that departments across the country are taking note of.
“We wanted to make sure our officers have a better knowledge of what is going on inside their body, because sometimes you can’t see,” said Rantoul Police Sergeant Christina Reifsteck.
First responders arrive to help at scary scenes, which can easily stick with them.
“Trying to reframe them, trying to make a different end to the story,” Lakritz said, “Trying to change their thoughts about what happened and about their future and their ability to recover.”
The Greg Lindmark Foundation has education and support programs for first responders.
“So, our foundation offers confidential counseling. We pay 100% of the bill,” Lindmark said. “Anything to do with cumulative stress or PTSD, we take care of 100%. Nobody knows. Total, totally anonymous.”
Lindmark added that there is one way that people can help.
“We need to start appreciating them more instead of criticizing the work they do,” he said. “There’s no profession where everybody’s perfect.”