Shots Fired: Breaking the Silence on PTSD in 911


(Video & Handout)


The purpose of this presentation is to shed light and start the conversation of addressing PTSD in the 911 telecommunications profession. In 2015 I was working as a police dispatcher for Boston police, and successfully managed an officer involved shooting. While I received many awards for how I managed the situation, the fallout of PTSD and lack of support had me making the difficult decision to leave 911 altogether in order to address my mental health. During my journey of healing, I came to the realization that the 911 field was my passion, and that dispatchers everywhere are lacking the support needed in order to continue in the field. I’ve now been back in the filed for 4 years. In addition to sharing my story, I’ve applied my experience to working on NENA’s Wellness Committee, specifically the Peer Support sub-committee, and the Acute Stress working group. Locally, I attended the Group and Individual Counseling Training, and applied to be a part of the local CISM team, which recognizes the important of including 911 personnel for defusing and debriefings. I am currently the point of contact for my agency. Recently, myself and other 911 professionals on the team have been meeting to discuss the 10 top calls for dispatchers, as well as discuss how we can spread the word that CISM teams in our area is a resource available to all dispatchers. In addition to walking viewers through my story – the initial call, the PTSD fallout, and the steps I took to change my mindset and heal – I want to be able to present the dispatcher’s point of view in handling critical incidents, and how agencies can help stop burnout and high turnover by providing resources to their dispatchers.

Learning Objectives:

Upon completion, participants will be able to:
  • Identify problems 911 professionals face on the job
  • Understand how they can contribute to changing the conversation about PTSD in first responders
  • Identify obstacles 911 personnel face utilizing a CISM team