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First Responders Urged to Be in Touch with Their Mental Heal

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First Responders Urged to Be in Touch with Their Mental Health on 9/11
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9/11 Observance, St. Andrews Episcopal Cathedral, Jackson
Desare Frazier

As Mississippians honor those who were killed in the 9/11 terror attacks, first responders are being urged to care for their own health as they help others in harm's way. MPB's Desare Frazier reports.

St. Andrews Episcopal Cathedral is filled with Mississippi first responders, including Jackson Police and Fire Department trainees. They along with members of the community are here for the annual 9/11 Terrorist Attack Observance. Rev. Anne Maxwell is dean of the cathedral.

"In addition to remembering and honoring what happened then, it is also about honoring the people who are serving now," said Rev. Maxwell.

September 11th, marked the 18th anniversary of the terror attacks in New York, Washington, DC and Pennsylvania. Nearly 3,000 people were killed. Today, some first responders in New York live with debilitating illnesses from contaminated debris as they ran to save lives. Cleotha Sanders is the Division Fire Chief in Jackson. He says their job is a calling and they train to face dangerous situations.

"That's one of the things we face everyday. It's just a joy and a pleasure for us just to come out and serve. So, we don't really wake-up every day thinking that we could lose our life but in reality that's a part of the job that we do on a daily basis," said Sanders.

Guest Speaker Dr. Damon Darsey with the University of Mississippi Medical Center is urging first responders to be in touch with their own mental health needs as they help others.

"We really got to work on what they see and do everyday and not bringing it home, understanding what it is taking care of them when often times they're taking care of other people," said Darsey.

In the face of acts of violence like the El Paso, Texas shooting, Darsey says he's confident Mississippi first responders are equipped to meet the challenges they confront.