BERKELEY CO., S.C. (WCBD) – A local Chaplain and volunteer firefighter is working to shine a light on the mental health of first responders, after losing one of his own to suicide on Thursday.
James Lewis, a volunteer firefighter with the Macedonia Fire Department, also serves as the Berkeley County Emergency Services Chaplain.
In just the past week, Lewis has responded to 12 deaths.
He says that the stress of the job can be overwhelming for everyone involved. Lewis cited one statistic that reports one public servant is lost every 36 hours nationwide.
That statistic hits harder when it hits close to home:
“Once I found out it was a brother and all that…that’s when it just really hits home for us….when it hits local, we’re like ‘wow’.”
Lewis encourages everyone to seek counseling, and not to be ashamed. In fact, he sees a counselor every other week.
If you or someone you know is struggling emotionally, reach out to someone for help. You can find resources at this link.