Flickr Obama painting by corpseinc; All Rights Reserved.
When I saw President Obama wipe his eye last week as he informed the world about the Connecticut school mass slayings, my thoughts turned to all those affected by this horrific event, including the first responders and the journalists covering the story.
Those are the two words I say to law enforcement, medical personnel., the coroners and to journalists, whose job is to deliver the good news and the horrible.
I hope you are taking care of yourselves, getting the proper rest and spending time with your own families during this holiday season. And if you need to, please reach out to a professional for counseling in light of post-traumatic stress disorder.
What is PTSD? The National Institute of Mental Health defines it as "an anxiety disorder that some people get after seeing or living through a dangerous event."
Almost two years ago, NPR reported First Responders, Rescuers Come Forward With PTSD about an Aspen, Colo. first responder who battled post-traumatic stress disorder. According to the story which Outside magazine covered, Michael Ferrara worked as a search-and-rescue man, ski patrol officer, paramedic and firefighter for 30 years. Later, "horrific images" paraded before his eyes from those rescues.
He says eventually he could not control 'the slideshow that was all these events' including 'an eviscerated man from an automobile crash,' according to NPR's report.
Ferrara found help in therapy.
One of many resources for first responders is the First Responder Support Network. According to its website, it provides "treatment programs that promote recovery from stress and critical incidents for first responders and their families."
Journalists who cover tragedies, which is routinely referred to as "breaking news," have resources also.
According to information on its website, "The Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, a project of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, is dedicated to informed, innovative and ethical news reporting on violence, conflict and tragedy."
About the Author:
Regina L. Burns, M.A., Project+, is an award-winning multimedia editor and journalist, specializing in Black history and African American stories at Harvest Reapers Communications. Her work has been published in Texas Highways magazine, WFAA-TV, The Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram as well as The Commercial Appeal, the Tri-State Defender and The Flyer, among others.