A new study from the University of Houston finds female firefighters are more likely to suffer Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or have suicidal thoughts.

The study found that one fifth of female firefighters in large urban fire departments experience PTSD -- while one in eight men in the same situation do.

Sandy Lynch is an Evesham firefighter and director of a peer support group in South Jersey. She said she's not sure female firefighters are exposed to more stress.

"I think every first-responder is put under a significant amount of stress. It doesn't necessarily have to be different based on your gender, if that makes sense," she said. "I think it just depends on your resiliency factors that are in place prior to taking on this career and possibly the external pressures you put on yourself, whether it be from society or ... just being a female firefighter."

Sudy author Consuelo Arbona also found one in five female fighters in urban areas also hold down second jobs.

Lynch said it's important for female firefighters to maintain a good work/life balance, "so just understanding that, and having a good support system around you is gonna be very helpful."

She advised her fellow female firefightres to keep in mind there are others going through the same thing they are - "and to never isolate yourself. Just always reach out to someone and ask for help ."

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5

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