Serve and Protect helps officers, first responders cope with PTSD

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A local organization is helping first responders handle the trauma the deal with regularly.

“Eighty-five percent of first responders have some symptoms of post-traumatic stress,” said Robert Michaels, founder and CEO of Serve and Protect.

Serve and Protect facilitates trauma services for public safety professionals with PTSD symptoms and addictions.

“We get calls from all over the country. Can you find somebody to help me?” explained Michaels.

As a former police officer and detective himself, Michaels said attacks on officers are up nationwide.

Just this week, two Metro police officers were attacked in separate incidents.

Robert Michaels (Photo: WKRN)
Robert Michaels (Photo: WKRN)

“Sadly, that’s not an uncommon occurrence around the country. Assaults on police officers are up,” Michaels added.

The CEO of Serve and Protect was not surprised at the video that captured the latest attack on an officer in the Cayce Homes area.

“When you see people actively, proactively, get involved in harming a police officer… he’s lucky he came out with his life.”

Michaels says trauma like that has to be treated early on.

“Emotional wounds that are not treated properly can have serious implications leading to further symptoms of post-traumatic stress; sleeplessness, anxiety, nightmares,” he explained.

He says those signs can lead to a breaking point.

“Every 17 hours a police officer commits suicide.”

Before the trauma takes its toll, Michaels says Serve and Protect is there when a hero needs help.

“From beginning to end, we can help them be restored.”

Serve and Protect has helped more than 2,500 professionals since it was founded less than five years ago.

They offer a free mobile app for mental health in public safety. Visit ServeProtect.org for more information.

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