Hamil R. HarrisHealth

9/11 Anniversary Spotlights Need for Helping Those Who Assist Others

Pandemic, Racial Turmoil’s Emotional Toll Mounting

A 55-year-old case worker walked into a rat-infested apartment that contained a hot plate, small refrigerator and a third grader whose teeth were black because they had not been brushed in months.

A Baltimore City police officer walked into his house a few years ago and spotted his wife standing with a gun to her head and she pulled the trigger.

Night after night doctors and nurses greet screaming ambulances with blood-stained patients who attempted to take their own lives or in recent months, they have ferried people gasping for air only hours before they die of COVID-19.

But those on the front lines of this carnage often struggle with emotional problems like those they are helping, experts are finding.

According to a national nonprofit that tracks first responder suicide deaths, in 2019, there were more than 200 reported officer suicides and 133 confirmed firefighter deaths across the nation.

Since 1975, National Suicide Prevention Awareness Week been observed from Sept. 6-12 and is taking on new meaning in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, race-charged social unrest and weariness from the drumbeat of 24-hour breaking news.

“There is a direct connection between what is going today and the fact that the number of suicides in first responder community is up,” said John Wordin, founder of the LifeAid Initiative. “There is no national program for police and first responders no program to help them with the stress of being first responders.”

According to its mission statement, LifeAid offers veterans, first responders and their families “opportunities …to heal the brain, reduce pain, and restore purpose.”

Amid protest and social unrest, Wordin to start healing dialogues in strife-torn communities.

Cost of Social ‘Awakening’

On Sept. 11, Wordin and Rev. Charles Jackson, pastor of the Macedonia Baptist Church in Daphne, Ala. hosted a multiracial town hall meeting in which they were able to mediate a dispute between African American and white cheerleaders over a dispute about a white cheerleader who publicly embraced support for slavery advocates.

“One thing about the George Floyd incident is that it has created an awakening,” Wordin said. “People are learning that you can be a white conservative but it doesn’t mean that you don’t believe that all men are not created and that there equal just under law. “

Michelle Lee, a chaplain with the Baltimore Police Department, said, “On the 19th anniversary of the worst terrorist acts in American History. I still believe in my heart that in the midst of this reign of terror, God was there that morning. He was at the World Trade Centers in New York. He was in Shanksburg, Pa. He was at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C./Arlington Va.

“It is important that first responders feel like they have someone to talk to with all of the trauma they see all day,” said Lee, who is a minister at Walk by Faith Ministries in Baltimore especially in the face of the risk of taking COVID home to their families.

Lee said for police officers this is a deeply troubling time in which they risk catching COVID-19 and taking it home. “There is an extra layer of danger.”

Tags
Show More

Hamil R. Harris

Hamil Harris is an award-winning journalist who worked at the Washington Post from 1992 to 2016. During his tenure he wrote hundreds of stories about the people, government and faith communities in the Greater Washington Area. Hamil has chronicled the Million Man March, the Clinton White House, the September 11 attack, the sniper attacks, Hurricane Katrina, the campaign of President Barack Obama and many other people and events. Hamil is currently a multi-platform reporter on the Local Desk of the Washington Post where he writes a range of stories, shoots photos and produces videos for the print and online editions of the Post. In addition, he is often called upon to report on crime, natural disasters and other breaking issues. In 2006 Harris was part of a team of reporters that published the series “Being a Black Man.” He was also the reporter on the video project that accompanied the series that won two Emmy Awards, the Casey Medal and the Peabody Award. Hamil has lectured at Georgetown University, George Washington University, Howard University, the American University, the University of Maryland and the University of the District of Columbia. He also lectures several times a year to interns during their semester in the District as part of their matriculation at the Consortium of Christian Colleges and Universities.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Washington Informer Newspaper, 3117 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE, Washington, DC, 20032, http://www.washingtoninformer.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Back to top button

My News Matters to me - Washington Informer Donations

Be a Part of The Washington Informer Legacy

A donation of your choice empowers our journalists to continue the work to better inform, educate and empower you through technology and resources that you use.

Click Here Today to Support Black Press and be a part of the Legacy!

Subscribe today for free and be the first to have news and information delivered directly to your inbox.

Select list(s) to subscribe to


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Washington Informer Newspaper, 3117 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE, Washington, DC, 20032, http://www.washingtoninformer.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact
Close

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker