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9/11 Firefighters reflect on legacy of Twin Towers, impact on mental health

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- Both Paul Mannix and Jim McGlynn responded to the attack on the Twin Towers on 9/11. Both have years of experience in the department, and were officers that fateful day.

They saw the same event from different locations in New York, both would find themselves at the scene -- searching through the rubble and supporting fellow first responders.

Jim McGlynn was sent into the North Tower with his crew, where he survived the collapse of the structure.

Paul Mannix was at his his home, 50 miles from the scene, when he rushed to the Towers.

To these two men, risking their lives is part of the job. They agree that being a firefighter is a mental and physical job, requiring strength in both to successfully serve their communities. The job is unique, and calls for a certain type of person.

The morning of 9/11, neither man thought it would be a defining moment in U.S. history.

These men spoke with ABC-7 about the day itself, and the impact of the events of 9/11 -- both mentally and physically. Tonight, ABC-7 takes a deep dive into the lives of these two men on that fateful day -- what they saw, what they thought and felt.

Concerns about the mental health of 9/11 survivors have been raised by the City of New York.

On their website, the city lists more than 50 possible health-related conditions from the trade center attacks -- including depression, ptsd and substance abuse disorders -- due to the extreme stress.

As much as 20% of adults exposed or injured developed PTSD at four-times the rate of the rest of population.

Both men support the mental health options increasingly available to firefighters, because of the stress of service.

If you need support, help is close by:

  • 988: The National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline - Anyone can contact the Crisis line through phone, text or message any time, for any mental distress.
  • EHN Crisis Hotline: (915-779-1800) - Staffed by locals, and a constant resource in El Paso, Emergence Health Network's hotline has specialists ready to hear you out.
  • Emergence Health - EHN is able to offer many different forms of support for mental health and wellness. From pet therapy to addiction treatment.
  • NAMI El Paso - As part of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, there are some options listed on their website for support and connection. NAMI is focused on providing support to anyone with any sort of mental illness.

Avery Martinez covers mental health in the Borderland as part of ABC-7’s Be Mindful initiative. He is also a Report for America corps member. RFA places talented, emerging journalists in newsrooms like ABC-7’s to report on under-covered issues and communities. Report for America is an initiative of The GroundTruth Project, an award-winning nonprofit journalism organization dedicated to rebuilding journalism from the ground up.

Article Topic Follows: Be Mindful

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