Baton Rouge emergency responders discuss mental health in new documentary

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Two Baton Rouge emergency responders will be featured in a documentary called “Into the Unknown – A Paramedics’ Journey.”

Best friends and colleagues Nicky and Nicole spend 15 years as emergency responders. They say paramedicine requires optimal physical and mental health.

“It weighs on you professionally and personally,” said Nicky Johnson, EMS unit commander in East Baton Rouge Parish.

A new documentary sheds light on these challenges – starring Nicky and Nicole. Filmmakers follow them on their journey as paramedics. The two decided to participate to highlight the mental toughness it takes to do what they do.

“It’s okay not to be okay because the things we see you can’t see,” Johnson said.

Experts say about 30% of first responders develop mental health conditions, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Nicole Jagers says this has been further challenged due to the spike in violent crime in the capital region, which has prompted them to seek help.

“We respond to shootings, domestic violence, stabbings. Almost every day, every shift,” she said.

“The victims are now women and children and at one time women and children were banned,” Johnson said.

But they are not alone, standing side by side day after day.

“No one understands your struggle in a shot other than someone you’re in the same field with, the same battle,” Jagers said.

The documentary will hit theaters in early 2023. More information about the documentary can be found here.


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