FORT WORTH (WBAP/KLIF News) – Dozens of first responders will ride through North Texas on their motorcycles on Saturday to raise awareness about a dark secret within their community…suicide.
In 2017, at least 140 police officers, 103 firefighters and 17 EMTs took their lives.
Medstar’s Matt Zavadsky said the horrific tragedies first responders see on a daily basis is a key factor in the stress levels both on and off the job.
“Traumatic car crashes, man’s inhumanity to man, assault, neglect…all those things that can really wear down anyone who would be exposed to that on a day in day out basis,” he said.
The time away from family and the fact that many first responders work several jobs plays a role as well.
Zavadsky said many first responders want to help others and don’t often open up about what they may be going through. That’s why the Tarrant County ambuilance service started the Hope Squad.
“The workers feel comfortable going to those folks to say ‘hey I am not doing really well’. Or, those peer counselors know their co-workers well enough to know when someone is not doing as well as they appear,” he said.
The ride starts at Medstar’s headquarters at 2900 Alta Mere Dr. in Fort Worth at 8:30 a.m. and ends at the Back Porch Sports Grill in Glen Rose.
If you can’t make the event, Zavadsky said there are simple things residents can do to for a first responder.
“If you see a first responder, shake their hand, pat them on the back, if it’s okay give them a hug and just thank them for what they do,” he said.
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