Ambulances stand by while teams go in to remove bodies from the floodwaters after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005. (Liz Roll/FEMA)

First Responders Told How Trauma-Filled Career Left PTSD Scars

A career filled with tragedy, trauma and “liquid grief” came with an enormous cost, and it drove Michael Ferrara to consider the most extreme option.

“I clear the weapon, hold it up to my head and pull the trigger,” Ferrara said. “I realize this is a dress rehearsal. I know I’m in trouble.”

Ferrara told his story to a group of area emergency responders Monday with the hopes of educating them about the warning signs and the consequences if mental health disorders, such as post traumatic stress disorder, are left untreated. He said first responders are twice as likely to die from suicide than being killed in action.

Ferrara’s career in emergency services included jobs as a coroner, sheriff’s deputy, a medic at Denali and Mount Everest and 35 years as a ski patroller in Aspen.

“Although the military has a lot of resources for soldiers coming back from combat with PTSD, it’s almost unheard of in the civilian world,” Ferrara said.

Read more at The Aspen Times

The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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