PTSD and Suicide

A good friend of mine, “Darrell Enderlin”, USMC Ret. 1st Sargent, lost his son – a Police Officer of the  Meridian, ID police department, to suicide. There were NO benefits for 1st Responder suicide until Darrell “charged the hill” and convinced the State Legislature to approve a bill giving 1st Responder’s families benefits in the case of suicide.

Mr/Ms Chairman, members of this committee and fellow citizens, My name is Darrell Enderlin and my son, Matthew Enderlin, an 11 year police officer, committed suicide while on duty with Meridian Police Department, on September 22, 2018 leaving behind a wife, a 12 year old autistic son and an 8 year old daughter.

Personally, I am a decorated retired Marine of two wars, Vietnam and Desert Storm and I have seen first hand the impact of PTSD on those who serve their country. My own brother suffers from PTSD from Vietnam where he receives help from the VA.

On average, 22 veterans commit suicide every day. Last year 110 firefighters and 160 police officers committed suicide. These numbers do not reflect unaccounted cases of retired 1st responders.

We have to remove the stigma caused by the fear of losing their job if they seek help and allow the workers comp system to treat this disease without degrading the officer or damaging their career. The fear of losing their job if they admit they have anxiety, depression, and can’t sleep.

We protect our first responders with bullet proof vests, and proper equipment, but we give them nothing to protect their minds

They hold everything in, this can causes isolation and loneliness

The stress and anxiety never stops

Police officers deal with not only the stigma of seeking help, but unrealistic expectations and demands from the public. They can not make a mistake.

Being a cop becomes your identity. You can’t escape this the negativity, the dangers of the job frequently creep into the officer’s mind even when they’re away from work. It can strain relationships with family, friends and others who care for them and often times can lead to a feeling of helplessness.  It is difficult for the protector to ask for protection and that is where we fail. Cops are human beings who deserve as much support as they are expected to give.

Matt was an amazing man who served all of us and gave his life to protect others. He didn’t need to die and I’m here to say that we need to protect our current first responders from the effects of their job.

Our lives have been changed forever. My son was 40 years old. Kristen is without her husband, Logan and Riley will grow up without their father. The financial burden caused by suicide never ends.

Parents should not outlive their children. I also think of my son in law who is a 13 year firefighter/paramedic, my daughter and their children, who lost a brother and uncle.

Please support this bill. Support the people that are willing to give their lives to protect and serve you. What cost is more important than a 1st responders life? Please do what is right.

Studies have shown that CBD can help treat PTSD. We at MASH will be helping to support these studies.

Thank You, Sherm – USMC

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