If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, call 988.
GAHANNA, Ohio (WCMH) – Central Ohio first responders are coming together in support of each other’s mental health.
Studies show police officers and firefighters are more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty.
A new movie that is bringing attention to what first responders and their families go through was screened in Gahanna Monday night.
“It shows we’re breaking the stigma and there’s people that really are out there that really care,” said Mick Yinger, executive director of First Responders’ Bridge, a non-profit organization supporting first responders’ mental health and helping them deal with PTSD. The organization was founded after the murders of Westerville Police Officers Eric Joering and Tony Morelli.
The movie is called “First Responders” and shows some of the intense situations police and firefighters deal with at work and the effects those events have on them and their families.
It’s personal for Yinger, a retired Columbus police officer.
“I’ve had two former partners and close friends that have committed suicide,” he said. “I had a former academy classmate that took his own life.”
First Responders’ Bridge and Yinger helped organize Monday’s viewing of the movie.
“Mental health for firefighters is very important,” said retired Westerville firefighter Tom Ullom. “It’s something we’ve really brought to light more so as the years have gone.”
Ullom was a firefighter for nearly 40 years. With his decades of experience, he has the same message as Yinger: It’s OK to reach out.
“The biggest thing is if something’s bothering you, don’t be afraid to ask for help,” Ullom said.
The movie premiered at more than 800 theaters across the country, with another screening scheduled for Tuesday night.