By Jeff Todd

DENVER (CBS4) – The Colorado State Patrol is embarking on a new kind of public safety campaign. #HiddenScars is highlighting how car crashes affect people all around each incident.

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(credit: Colorado State Patrol)

“When we see something traumatic, it is going to affect us, and it’s probably going to be something we’ll never forget for the rest of our lives,” said Trooper Josh Lewis. “These are the different type of scenarios that we go through, and they can actually be very detrimental to mental health.”

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Josh Lewis (credit: CBS)

So far, episodes of #HiddenScars have highlighted a deputy, nurse, EMT and a victim’s mother. All had dealt with similar tragedy from distracted or drunk drivers.

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(credit: Colorado State Patrol)

“Basically it comes down to the need that, for people, that their actions have consequences,” said Lewis. “We will never forget the times we’ve had to do death notifications. I can tell you that from personal experience, it does not affect just you, your actions are more than just you.”

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(credit: CBS)

Lewis says the message isn’t just to get people to pay attention while driving, but it’s also shedding light on the mental health struggles some first responders can deal with.

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(credit: CBS)

“For the longest time this was always something we tucked away. We hid. We didn’t talk about it. It does affect us, and it’s okay that it affects us. We want people to understand that being emotional is just fine, getting help. That’s what you need to do when you need it, there’s no shame in that,” Lewis said. “We hope that this will continue to be something that is shared, that people will watch and understand that behind the badge, behind the uniform, we are ultimately human beings too.”

A new episode of #HiddenScars premiers every Tuesday afternoon.

LINK: #HiddenScars On Facebook

Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.

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