Chicago Fire Department Lt. Jan Tchoryk was laid to rest Thursday. On Friday, firefighter Jermaine Pelt, who also died in the line of duty, will be laid to rest.
The deaths are stark reminders of the physical dangers first responders face. But often unseen are mental health concerns, which can take a heavy toll.
Carrie Steiner is a psychologist and former Chicago police officer; she owns First Responder Wellness Center. Steiner pointed out that first responders face life-and-death situations day after day. Although departments can offer some mental health resources, the stigma behind seeking help is often a deterrent to getting counseling.
“What most first responders are worried about is that they’re going to be hospitalized because they are going to say something like, ‘I feel like hurting myself,’” Steiner said.
Last year, former Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown called for better mental health resources for officers. Former Superintendent Eddie Brown also called for better services for Chicago police officers.
Steiner joined “Chicago Tonight” to discuss mental health challenges faced by first responders and what resources are available.