POSTED: Friday, June 28, 2013 - 8:16pm
UPDATED: Thursday, July 4, 2013 - 5:46pm
Tyler Tx, (KETK) — June is post-traumatic stress disorder awareness month.
Not only do men and women from war suffer from this disorder, first responders do as well.
"They are dealing with things that aren't natural for human beings," said Smith County Sheriff's Office Chaplain Doug Haning.
Our police officers, firefighters and ems responders are there in times of trouble.
"We go on what we call auto pilot. Sometimes we are able to stay on auto pilot throughout the scene get through it and then it's time to start dealing with it,'' said City of Tyler Asst. Fire Marshal Laura Mason.
But, they experience situations and tragedies that no one can even imagine.
"Law enforcement and military are a lot alike they have the same stresses 99% of the time your dealing with the ins and outs of your daily business and then there is that 1% of the time where everything is upside down," said Haning.
Haning is one of five chaplains with the Smith County Sheriff's Office.
They respond to more than 350 employees in the county and their families.
"I ride around with the guys and gals during their shift and just talk and we can be a dumping ground for them to just let it all out."
Haning's can relate.
He suffered PTSD after responding to the 1995 Oklahoma bombing.
"I had a hard time sleeping certain smells certain things caused flashbacks I've talked to other deputies who've been through similar situations whether it be shootings or something that was a traumatic thing where they also had the same trouble."
Texas Fire Departments have a similar program.
It's called the Critical Instance Stress Management team.
There are about 8 teams made up of mental health professionals and peers that teach first responders how to deal with tragic incidents.
Assistant Fire Marshal Laura Mason is part of the team.
"We want to make sure the people we are talking to understand that there are peers that have been in there shoes and all of the feelings and thoughts they are having after an incident are very normal," said Mason.