CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The recent shooting in Bristol, Connecticut illustrates just how dangerous it can be to work in law enforcement.

Police officers receive training on how to handle dangerous and tragic situations, but officers say it’s hard to understand the impact these events have on your mind and body until it’s experienced firsthand. Many departments host counseling sessions with other first responders where they can share their thoughts and feelings.

Travis Odiorne, Chicopee’s Public Information Officer stated, “It’s good for our guys to able to sit down and communicate and express how they’re feeling after those situations.”

Due to the intense nature of the job, police officers report higher rates of depression, anxiety, and PTSD than the general public. One in four officers has thoughts of suicide. Between 18-24% of dispatchers suffer from PTSD. 35% of police officers suffer from PTSD.

Father William Hamilton, the Coordinating Chaplain of the Massachusetts State Police has been working with officers after traumatic experiences for 41 years. “We need to speak to one another, we need to talk things out with one another. Holding it in never solves the problem. It’s dealing with it straight on and over time it can be healed,” said Hamilton.

Officer Kingsley is walking 219 miles from Egremont to Chatham to raise awareness of first responder suicide and mental health. “In the past, there was a stigma, and there was a little bit of shame in asking for help. What I am trying to get across is there is no shame behind that. it’s sometimes a sign of strength to say hey I’m struggling with that,” said Kingsley.