Program coming to help first responders deal with stress - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Program coming to help first responders deal with stress

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Good mental health is important for all of us, but especially for first responders who deal with high levels of stress and extreme tragedies.  
 
On Monday, we're learning more help is available for police officers, firefighters, and others who deal with emergencies in Vanderburgh County. 

Knowing how to deal with the stress of the job is something all first responders have to consider. 

Now, there are even more resources for them to do that.

"There's really no time to prepare yourself for what you're about to see," German Township Fire Chief David Bretz said. 

Over his decades long firefighting career, Chief David Bretz has seen a lot. 

"There are runs over the years that I can still see in my head as clear as the day that they happened and some of them are 20 and 25 years old. There's no doubt that you take that home with you. It has an effect on you," Chief Bretz told 14 News.

In all those years, Chief Bretz says he's never sought out help from a mental health professional. But, if he faced a difficult situation again now, he might.

Especially knowing there are new resources available.

"I think it'll be really good for some of them to go have people to talk to that know how to help you sort it out," Chief Bretz said.

Over at the Mulberry Center in Downtown Evansville, Ralph Nichols knows how important that is. He's met with police officers, firefighters, and other first responders in the wake of tragedy. 

"Some of it is validating what they feel and letting them know that despite the tragedies that they experience, life goes on and that they need to move on as well," Nichols said.

To Nichols, moving on often comes more easily with some assistance. 

So with a $20,000 grant from the Welborn Baptist Foundation, he'll now be able to use more resources and time to help offering counseling and education.  

It's up to first responders to take advantage of the services, if and when they're needed.

This program is free to Vanderburgh County first responders. Just call the Mulberry Center if you'd like to access services.

If a family member of a first responder needs to talk to someone, that can be arranged, too.

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