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Mental health professionals called in to help first responders of Surfside collapse

After nearly two weeks, first responders have worked tirelessly for days on end to find victims at the collapse site of what was once Champlain Towers South. Due to hours of grueling work each day and their devotion as they relentlessly search for missing people, rescuers have been met with physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion.
After nearly two weeks, first responders have worked tirelessly for days on end to find victims at the collapse site of what was once Champlain Towers South. Due to hours of grueling work each day and their devotion as they relentlessly search for missing people, rescuers have been met with physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion.

SURFSIDE, Fla. – After nearly two weeks, first responders have worked tirelessly for days on end to find victims at the collapse site of what was once Champlain Towers South.

Due to hours of grueling work each day and their devotion as they relentlessly search for missing people, rescuers have been met with physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion.

“We’re here, we’re on the ground, our staff is working 12 to 15 hours a day, and we will continue to do whatever we can to support the effort,” explained Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett of their courageous efforts.

This is why mental health professionals are being called in to help our heroes.

“I don’t think that no matter how much you train for something like this can you ever really be mentally prepared for it,” empathized psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Bober.

Now, officials are making sure there’s always mental health experts on site.

“Not only are you under pressure to find the survivors potentially, but you are also getting pressure from the families that, you know, that, ‘Maybe you are not working fast enough,’” explains Bober. “These are only human beings, and these are people that they are putting their own lives at risk, both physically and mentally, to do this task. So, as far as I am concerned, they are all heroes.”

Bober explained to Local 10 News how to deal with a catastrophe of this severity.

“This is something that is just leaving a whole in our hearts,” adds Bober. “When we see a tragedy like this, we are reminded of the frailty of life. We have to take this tragedy and turn it into a positive — maybe we just have to hug the ones we have just a little bit closer and realize, at the end of the day, your life is defined by the human connections.”

As of Tuesday, family and friends of victims remain desperate for any news — good or bad.

“The waiting and waiting is unbearable,” empathizes Mayor of Miami-Dade County Daniella Levine Cava.


About the Author:

Annaliese Garcia joined Local 10 News in January 2020. Born and raised in Miami, she graduated from the University of Miami, where she studied broadcast journalism. She began her career at Univision. Before arriving at Local 10, she was with NBC2 (WBBH-TV) covering Southwest Florida. She's glad to be back in Miami!