July 16, 2020

July 16, 2020

First Responders Dealing with PTSD is the Focus of an Upcoming Documentary

Frederick, MD – PTSD is having an impact on first responders all across the United States and a new documentary is being developed to tell the story. Filmmakers, Conrad Weaver and Nancy Frohman are working on the documentary in order to shed light on this ongoing issue that has often been ignored or glossed over.

PTSD911 will be a feature-length documentary telling the stories of fire fighters, paramedics, police officers, and 911 dispatchers who are struggling with the effects of years of encountering severe traumatic incidents. Suicide rates among first responder groups in the United States are much higher than the general population. In 2016, 139 firefighters died by suicide; and in 2019, 228 police officers died by suicide, nearly twice the number of officers who died in line of duty. Both firefighters and police officers are more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty. Many first responders self-medicate with alcohol or other self-destructive and abusive behaviors in an effort to cope with the stress and trauma they deal with daily. And unfortunately, many of their agencies are not providing them a supportive environment where they can get help.

Weaver says the film will help educate the general public about the stressors first responders face, “We expect them to show up when we call and take care of us when we’re at our worst. We know they are heroes; but we don’t realize that many are in trouble themselves!” Weaver hopes the film will not only raise awareness, but also inspire systemic changes in agencies that don’t have adequate support systems in place to care for members who are suffering from post-traumatic stress.

The film project has been endorsed by a number of organizations who provide help and training for first responders, including Concerns of Police Survivors, the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, Blue HELP, the National Emergency Number Association, and others; a complete list can be found on the film’s web site,

The filmmakers recently released a teaser trailer for PTSD911 and they have launched a crowdfunding campaign on ( to raise funds for the production of the film. “We’ll begin working on this as soon as the funds are in place and COVID-19 restrictions are eased allowing us to travel more freely. We hope to have the film completed by
Fall of 2021,” says Weaver.

To learn more about PTSD911, visit the web site at


Many 911 responders often experience critical incidents that break their spirits and leave them with physical and emotional scars.  Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder negatively impacts mental wellbeing, interferes with work performance, relationships, and self-care.  It may increase premature retirements, marital discord, and even suicide.  The more we know about PTSD, the more we can reduce its risk.  PTSD is treatable and we encourage people to seek help before more serious damage occurs.  Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder effects can be reduced and in many cases eliminated.  This PTSD911 documentary can help individuals suffering from PTSD to have hope that tomorrow will be a better day than today. 

May 18, 2020
We hope you can utilize these helpful articles as this unprecedented worldwide pandemic enters its third month of lockdown. CISM skills are necessary now more than ever as healthcare workers and first responders struggle with compassion fatigue and burnout. Please continue to support each other and strengthen relationships.
April 10, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has made the wellbeing of first responders and health care professionals the focus of countless news stories. These helpers tend to push their own needs aside to care for others even though self care can make helpers happier, healthier, and able to support others more effectively.

Now, more than ever, it is imperative for those “in the “trenches” to practice self care. Just like on an airplane, it is important to put on your own oxygen mask before supporting others.

How Will We Address the Trauma Health Care Workers Have Suffered

March 18, 2020
ICISF co-founder Dr. George S Everly says in his book The Resilient Child:
Us older folks need 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. But, I’ll tell you a secret: I recently discovered “the nap”. Yes, that afternoon departure from consciousness lasting 15-30 minutes. I used to think a nap was something old people or babies did, but one of my daughters saved me from this mistaken idea. One day, she said she was going to take a nap.
“A nap?” I said. “You take naps?”
“Yeah, dad – power naps.”
Ah, the power nap. Yes, indeed, wording is everything!
If the “power nap” sounds good to you, there may even be a “super power nap”…the relaxation response. Dr. Herbert Benson authored a highly influential book in 1975 entitled The Relaxation Response, which reported on research showing that meditation and related practices were able to create a state that he termed “the relaxation response.”  His research and the work of others have shown that the relaxation response is not only the opposite of the classic “fight or flight” stress response, but prolonged practice can actually assist in the development of resistance to stress and a highly resilient mind and body. Now, couldn’t we all use some relaxation?
Additional postings on sleep & wellness: