I was pleased to read in an April 10 Herald editorial about the stress management sessions and programs available to emergency services personnel. Those who protect and serve us always should have help available to them for guidance and stress control.

Unfortunately, many times, some personnel are reluctant to receive assistance or open up completely in a session. There are many reasons for such reluctance. However, belief in the fact that the individual feels as if he or she is able to cope with a situation by handling it themselves usually is a top motive. Many times, the symptoms continue and get worse. Proper recognition and understanding of stress symptoms is important. Further, suitable treatment of such symptoms should be essential as well.

As a Marine veteran who served in Iraq and also as a former Franklin County Sheriff’s Office employee, I have had such difficulties with stress. In June 2011, I was notified I would not be able to continue employment because of a not-fit-for-duty status surrounding possible suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Such a program might have made a huge difference in my case, regardless of whether the stress had been compounded by my duties at work or if my status was pre-existing. I was encouraged to seek out my own help and management, which I paid for myself, and was given a tentative timeline for my treatment before I would graciously be shown the door.

The stress management sessions should be a step in the right direction, if followed precisely. Sometimes peer-to-peer sessions can make a difference. This especially is true in a tight family-like group, such as law enforcement organizations. My hope is that stress management would be better understood and that suffering from such stress does not mean an individual will model Rambo.

Employers of war veterans hired into such positions should have an understanding that such activities might agitate stress reactions. Simply excusing an individual from further service might be counter-productive as well. There are many veterans out there and many have personal baggage. They deserve the highest care and treatment available to them in their struggles; right along side our emergency services heroes.

— David M. Dunn, Ottawa