Thank you Mosaics of Mercy for having me out to record for your podcast on the mental health of first responders! I hope it reaches individuals and departments that are willing to address it head-on!
……….First responders are often silently burdened with the expectation to be strong poised heroes and show no signs of weakness. Yet, they too are human! They inadvertently may begin to hide or bury their humanistic side as a defense mechanism and form negative coping skills.
The truth is, at some point in their career, they might all struggle. They struggle because they are expected, but not taught, how to learn to live and balance both roles. This is why compassion fatigue, imposter syndrome, mortality, cumulative stress, PTSD, insomnia, and addictions can form. As a result, there can be a negative spillover effect from work to home.
Therefore, it is necessary for superman and superwoman to hang up their capes sometimes, and need to do so often. They need to practice good self-care to combat all the traumatic images and calls the brain avoids processing. It’s because of this that our local helpers and their families often need help as well. We must develop a supportive community for our first responders, their marriages, and their families to seek assistance. Certain departments within our community have already begun to do so!
Silence and negative coping are silent killers among first responders, as suicides supersede the in line of duty deaths. It should be encouraged and safe for first responders to seek the same assistance and help they offer to others during their time of need. That is why it has become one of our missions at Grace & Guidance PLLC to counsel our community helpers. We are honored to serve those who serve!
In closing, it takes great strength to be vulnerable and ask for help! We understand that and that is why we are here. Support others when they speak up and reach out!
Feel free to listen to the direct and honest podcast that was recorded prior to the pandemic, through Mosaics of Mercy, in honor of our brave first responders. Please share it as well, as it might speak to someone who is silently or currently struggling. May God use this for good…….
Post written by Lona Snell, LPC with Grace & Guidance PLLC in The Woodlands, Texas. Lona was the guest on Episode 20: Caring for Our First Responders on the Hope Pieced Together Podcast.