PTSD and the Carr Fire: How one organization is helping people cope emotionally

A firefighter battling the Carr Fire observes nearby flames in Redding, Calif., on Saturday, July 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

As many Shasta and Trinity County residents start to pick up the pieces of their lives, left behind by the Carr Fire, the Northern Gateway Unit of Social Workers chose to offer free Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) training to mental health professionals to help people recover emotionally.

On Saturday, the National Association of Social Workers held a free PTSD training session, providing crucial recovery techniques to all attendees.

The free training was hosted by Joe Ruzek, the former Director of Veteran's Affairs at the National Clinic with a specialization in PTSD.

Ruzek said there are many small changes people can make in their lives to promote positive emotional health.

"Make real serious time to look after yourself. Reaching out to other people and talking about your experiences even if that's hard for you. And when you make yourself vulnerable you give a magnificent gift to the person next to you because you make it possible for them to share their experience," said Ruzek.

He says he worked with PTSD and trauma patients at the VA and is now an adjunct professor at Stanford.

Ruzek also helped create a free online program to help reduce people's PTSD and trauma brought on by the Sonoma Fire last year.

You can access the website here.

He says even though it says Sonoma in the name, it's really for anyone who has recently experienced trauma.

He hopes that these resources will help those suffering in the Northstate as well.

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