Mental health resources offered in Lexington for first responders, teachers

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) – We are days into the work week and the Lexington community is still reeling from this weekend’s events.

The death of 10-year-old Landon Hayes and a police officer shot in the line of duty annoy many.

Cars lined West Sixth Street and North Upper Streets on Sunday as people of all ages poured into the intense and tragic scene.

“People who have a closer relationship with an individual, we anticipate having a more significant grief response or reaction,” said Lindsay Kampfer, counseling resource officer.

Kampfer, who helps with grief counseling, said students will grieve Landon differently, but so will the people they lean on: teachers.

“They are our community heroes, however, they too are human and are not immune to the impact of loss of life,” Kampfer said.

She said helpers need grace and compassion, and that includes law enforcement.

“The first responders are going to react with a higher amount of stress,” Kampfer said.

From the loss of a child, to a threat against one of their own.

“Especially after something like that where they have a colleague get shot in the line of duty, it affects not only them, but the officer’s family as well,” Kampfer said.

Lieutenant Randall Combs is a member of the Lexington Police Peer Support Team. He and others receive special training to help fellow first responders process parts of the job.

“Police departments in the past have done a great job preparing officers physically, but we have fallen behind mentally and emotionally,” said Lt. Combs.

He said peer support officers were on site on Saturday and Sunday to help everyone involved.

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“We ask them things like, ‘What stood out to you the most? What was it about this that bothered you the most?’” Combs said.

Lt. Combs said officers are trained to be strong, just like teachers, but they also need room to cry.

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