CEDAR PARK, Texas — Being a police officer can be tough. The hard work can lead to struggles with mental health.
Central Texas officers came together Thursday morning to attend a program on mental health put on by the Cedar Park Police Department.
"Just remember, you're not alone and you're not the only one" Cedar Park Officer Keco Motton said.
Officer Motton knows how important monitoring mental health can be while working as a patrol officer. After coming back from the military, he said his mental health was getting worse.
But he's not alone.
According to a study by the Ruderman Family Foundation, more first responders died by suicide in 2017 than in the line of duty. The report shows that 140 police officers died by suicide that year -- three times the amount who were killed in the line of duty.
"We have to be the superheros," Javier Bustos said.
Bustos helps first responders cope with mental trauma.
"We're expected to show up and expect to leave with no mental trauma, but we do," he said.
Bustos says first responders can be afraid to seek help because they don't want to seem weak.
"When you're on the scene, you're going to see some really sad stuff," Bustos said. "It's important to talk to your family and talk to your peer support group about it."
This mental health problem goes far beyond just police officers. It affects dispatchers, like Bryce Wellman, as well.
"Every day is completely different than the day before," Wellman said. "When you hear the emotion over the phone, that's what really gets to me."
Despite the different job titles, having good mental health requires constant communication.
"You have to reach out," Officer Motton said. "It takes a team to help you, and you have to be willing to accept the help."