Retired ATF agent helping others deal with PTSD

Posted at 10:21 PM, Dec 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-16 23:24:20-05

Another tragedy hit the Kansas City Fire Department.

A 28-year veteran of the department took his own life outside station 17 on Wednesday. 

One man is working to help first responders cope with the high-stress, dangerous job.

"When there is a tragedy in the first responder community it affects everybody,” said Chris Allen, the Founder and President of Hunting for Heroes. He’s also a retired ATF special agent and former St. Louis police officer.

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The news of a firefighter suicide hit him deeply.

“For me, it's very, very sad and tragic,” he said. “But you know the only you thing you can do is try to understand it and solve it so it doesn't happen again."

Allen is living with PTSD. In fact, it drove him out of the profession.

He says struggles with PTSD, depression, or anxiety, are often met with resentment.

“You couldn't talk to anybody because of the stigma,” he explained. “I don't even want to guess that PTSD is what led to the incident today. I know in my case specifically, things just compounded. They built up. And I had no outlet."

He spends him time now running Hunting for Heroes.

“We started doing hunting and fishing retreats for families of injured officers. And we've found early on in that that the reports of suicide prevention that we were seeing were off the charts."

Suicide is happening within police and fire departments across the country, but it’s not always reported.

According to the Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance Organization, 86 firefighters have taken their own lives jut this year.

The number is even higher among police.

"We've had 22 officers come forward and say they were contemplating suicide before they met our organization and now we've given them their life back,” Allen said.

More information | 

If you know someone who needs help or would like to help his cause, you can contact Chris Allen at


Lexi Sutter can be reached at

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