JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WHAS11) — Our first responders see us in our worst moments, and those moments can haunt them forever through post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. There is a stigma surrounding mental health and it causes millions of men and women to suffer in silence.
Sergeant Justin Ames from the Jeffersonville Fire Department is ready to break his silence.
"This is the story about my worst run.
It was Mother’s Day, 2010. When I laid down, and started saying my prayers like I normally do, the tones dropped for us to have a call and the call came out as the address of my parents. I didn’t tell my Lieutenant at the time that it was my mother. I knew she wouldn’t let me make that run, but I knew it was important for me to be there, because my mom would have thought, "My son’s coming to help me."
I got on scene, and went inside, and went to work. It’s my job. I took an oath to the city, and the citizens, and one of those citizens just happened to be my mom.
We loaded her up in the ambulance, I went to get in the back and my lieutenant said, "You need to get up front." I knew then that my work was done.
She was pronounced dead of a heart attack.
I never would have dreamt that I would make the call on my own mother. On Mother’s Day, at that.
I just thought I was having bad days. You know at work we’re taught to put a smile on your face and go help the public. And that’s what we do. That’s our job. And we love it. It’s the best job in the world.
But when we go home to the ones who are closest to us, that’s who suffers. That’s who suffers from what we’re suffering, 'cause we change.
More active firefighters die by suicide than in the line of duty.
When we’re suffering something such as PTSD, we’re afraid to get help because we’re afraid of what our peers might think of us. Your peers don’t have to know.
I encourage anybody out there who’s having some sort of change because of something you saw or a run you made: Please get help. I wouldn’t be talking to you today on camera without tearing up if I didn’t go get help.
And I’m able to because I decided to get treatment for my PTSD."
This is part of our Stressed Into Silence series. To learn more, visit whas11.com/silenced
If you or a loved one needs help, do not hesitate to use the following resources:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
Call 1-800-273-8255 (Available 24 hours everyday)
Contact the Veterans Crisis Line:
1-800-273-8255, press 1
Send a text to 838255
- 'This is the story about my worst run'; Firefighter battling PTSD breaks his silence
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