Documentary highlights first responders dealing with PTSD

Nov 19, 2014, 5:30 AM | Updated: 5:30 am

A new documentary will soon be released that sheds light on a problem that exists but until now has not received the attention it deserves. It’s Post-traumatic stress disorder among first responders.

The documentary is called “Code 9-Officer Needs Assistance.” It is being co-produced by the wife of a retired state trooper dealing with PTSD and highlights the “dark side of law enforcement.”

PTSD among first responders is a big problem, and experts in the film say up to nearly 20 percent of officers across the country suffer from PTSD, with many families suffering in silence and not understanding the changes they see in their loved ones.

Medically retired Mesa Police Officer Nathan Schlitz was interviewed for the documentary. After two shooting incidents, one resulting in the death of a 15-year-old girl, he was diagnosed with PTSD. Today, he offers peer support to other officers.

“The public usually associates post-traumatic stress with military veterans. This documentary really demonstrates how first responders can be affected by the critical incidents they have to deal with,” said Schlitz. “It raises awareness about the problem of PTSD and other disorders that can occur with law enforcement and any first responder.”

The powerful documentary shares the gut wrenching stories of the anguish associated with stress injuries inflicted upon first responders and their families. Experts in the documentary say for every one person who commits suicide, there are 1,000 officers suffering in silence.

On Nov. 18, Phoenix Police Officer Craig Tiger was laid to rest after taking his own life. He had been diagnosed previously with PTSD.

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Documentary highlights first responders dealing with PTSD