HEBRON, Ky. — More than 200 first responders gathered Thursday to talk about and share resources on mental wellness.
“You take that label off and we are all humans,” said Phillip Hall, a CVG firefighter and paramedic. “For me, it came down to the fact of whether I was going to live or die. I had some suicidal ideations. I got some help.”
Hall said for a lot of his colleagues there is a stigma associated with seeking help. He wanted to combat that stigma and helped organize the First Responder Health Symposium for men and women who face tragedy daily.
“Let's get everybody in the room,” Hall said. “Lets get all of these resources in the room so that our fellow first responders can make those same connections.”
It's the type of connections Jo Terry wishes her husband Chip had before dying of suicide in 2017. Chip Terry was a retired Covington Assistant Fire Chief who dealt with PTSD.
“He just became hopeless and gave up,” Terry said. “After he died, I realized we had a significant amount of resources in the area for our first responders.”
Now Terry works to educate and bring awareness to first responders, providing financial support through the Chip Terry Fund. That money can help those in need pay for treatment.
“Anything from help cutting the grass while they are away at treatment to covering their deductible when they’re gone,” Terry said.
More than 40 organizations shared information about the services they offer, some of which are free, to first responders.
“I encourage folks who have been through that journey to share that journey,” said Hall. “Because there is somebody in that dark spot that you are going to reach down and grab.”