By Daniel Langhorne, Los Angeles Times
After the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas, Orange County fire departments deployed support counselors to help first-responders cope with the trauma they had experienced.
Like members of many public safety agencies in Southern California, current and retired employees of the Costa Mesa Fire and Rescue Department attended the country music festival as spectators. Some suffered from survivor’s guilt and trauma from what they saw the night of Oct. 1.
Costa Mesa firefighter and paramedic Mike Ruhl was one of the peer counselors who spoke with survivors, especially firefighters and paramedics who otherwise may not have sought mental health services.
Ruhl, a 31-year-old Mission Viejo resident, was recognized as Costa Mesa Fire and Rescue’s Team Member of the Month in November, partly because of his passion for identifying and counseling firefighters and paramedics suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or suicidal thoughts.
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Image: Don Leach, Los Angeles Times