At a recent Orlando City Hall meeting, a pension board granted permanent disability benefits to a former Orlando Police officer who has experienced post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after the Pulse shooting. Gerry Realin has been fighting an uphill battle regarding his retirement benefits. He had run out of all of his allotted paid time off.
Florida law doesn’t allow for worker’s compensation benefits after first responders suffer from PTSD only. The meeting concluded with Realin receiving a pension with a unanimous decision. Though he will only be getting 80% of what he was getting paid before, it is a huge weight lifted for him and his family.
Such rulings are finally becoming more prevalent. In 2012, a state board ordered Newtown, Connecticut to pay disability to a traumatized police officer after the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting.
PTSD is a serious epidemic that affects more people than many realize. It can affect anyone in all walks of life, anywhere in the world. About 8% of Americans have PTSD at any given time. That’s more than 24 million people, and that’s just in the United States alone.
PTSD can occur after one witnesses or experiences trauma. This can be interpreted differently for everyone, depending on circumstance. It isn’t a sign of weakness and has nothing to do with someone’s character.
The most important thing is that anyone who experiences the symptoms of PTSD seeks help. Anyone can suffer from PTSD, from soldiers who fought for our country to police officers and first responders that put their lives on the line every day.
Many people, especially police, may feel afraid to come forward when they face trauma. They put their lives on the line every day. Chances are they will see or experience a traumatic event on the line of duty. PTSD is very real for law enforcement facing the worst situations on a daily basis. Supporting them should be a no-brainer.
Photo by Walter via Flickr.