Mental Health Crisis Facing Montana First Responders
Violent crime has risen significantly across the country, especially in our larger cities and towns. Has there barely even been a weekend when Billings, Montana hasn't had a shooting incident this year?
We caught up with Sergeant Jay Stovall with the Billings Police Department. He is helping to organize a training event sponsored by the Billings Police Department to help law enforcement, other first responders, and their spouses dealing with post traumatic stress.
Sgt. Jay Stovall: There's a statistic that says that the average person experiences two to three life changing crisis events, and law enforcement, first responders, we respond to over 800 of those in our career.
Sergeant Stovall helped to start a peer support group for PTSD here in Montana which is being hailed as a first of its kind.
The training is coming up Nov. 3-5 in Billings in partnership with T-6, an incredible organization that was started in Florida and Montana to help first responders who are struggling with PTSD.
Jessie Holton, lead instructor and cofounder of T-6 explained the importance of addressing PTSD and mental health concerns facing law enforcement and other first responders:
Suicide is the number 1 killer of law enforcement officers, divorce rates are between 60 and 80 percent, alcohol abuse is high, and retention of officers is low. Occupational and traumatic stress are principal factors driving these statistics.
Thanks to funding from the Gianforte Family Foundation, officers, first responders, and their spouses are able to attend these training events free of charge.
For more information on the organization, upcoming programs for Montana first responders, or the peer support network, contact Regan at 321-848-1974 or bregan79(at)gmail.com.
Listen to our full chat with Sgt. Stovall below: