In July, a Richland County Sheriff’s deputy took his own life on duty, and it ignited a discussion about suicides among emergency responders. On Aug. 10, a Richland County administrator said during a presentation that a person voicing complaints about the EMS department should “kill himself or quit.” This is unacceptable.
Hundreds of emergency responders in the Midlands dedicate their lives to protect and serve the public, but who is there to help them? Each shift brings the very real chance that they will have to witness something so tragic that it will alter them forever.
The Journal of Emergency Medical Services reported that a survey found that 6.6 percent of emergency responders had attempted suicide, more than 10 times the rate of the general population.
We must understand that these heroes require mental health support, or we cannot expect to see a change in suicide rates. This has to start at the County Council.
We have to demand more for these people. They give their all for us.