SAULT STE. MARIE -- The Shadows of The Mind Film Festival took to honouring first responders with their own special day on Thursday.

"First responders appreciation day" marks the first time two films showcasing first responders mental health struggles, played back-to-back.

"As police officers, we are moms, we are dads, we are brothers and we are sisters," said Sergeant Monique Baker of the Ontario Provincial Police.

"I think that the more we change the way we think and the way people think, we'll be, it will be easier for police officers to open up and show that human side as well."

Two panels made up entirely of emergency services personnel followed each documentary, speaking about their own personal challenges.

The festival continues through the weekend, wrapping up Sunday, Mar.1.