MILWAUKEE — A shift as a first responder can be a grind, and for many, it doesn't end when they clock out of work.
"You see the worst things in the city that you live in," said Monica Quesnell. "And you just see that repeatedly every day."
When Quesnell worked as a deputy for the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office, she said she had a hard time separating her personal life from what she saw on the job.
"When I would drive anywhere, whether I'm working or not working, it's just constant triggers of memories of something that happened here or something that happened there," she said.
Quesnell eventually left her job as a deputy. Immediately after she left, she went on a long bike ride, to regain a sense of herself.
"[It was] kind of like my own mental health and sort of reset myself," she said. "When I got back from that trip and I started going to school."
She's studying clinical mental health counseling, working on her master's degree. She hopes to one day bring those skills to the law enforcement community.
"More officers probably could benefit from just normalizing the talk about it, like asking their fellow officers how they're doing mentally," she said.
Those on the job need that outlet, but it can be tough in the year 2020.
"Just that limited contact isn't enough to do that one to one face time to really see how that person is doing," said Mike Doud, executive director of the Wisconsin Injured Law Enforcement Officer Resource Council, or WILEORC.
Doub's organization provides a safe space for officers from all over the area to share their struggles, and heal together.
They're not tied to a specific organization, which helps the members feel more at ease, and network across different departments.
"There are no records, there's no documentation, it's strictly confidential," Doud said.
An important outlet for those who put on the badge every day.
"That's the job that not everyone can do," Quesnell said. "And I think it takes just an extremely strong person to do that work."
If you want to support WILEORC or learn more about what they do, you can find that information at www.wileorc.org.
Quesnell was also a guest on"Giving Voice to Depression," a local mental health podcast. To hear more of Quesnell's story, you can listen to her episode at www.stories.givingvoicetodepression.com.