Crisis as Opportunity – Critical Incident Stress Management

by Bob Rabe

A college professor once asked the class, “How heavy is a glass of water?” The professor received several answers, but the professor replied, “The weight doesn’t matter, it depends on how long you try to hold it. The longer you hold it, the heavier it becomes. That is, until you put it down and rest.”

Stress is the same way. If we carry stress, especially after a critical incident, the stress can become increasingly heavy, if not dealt with properly. The stress may lead to a crisis.

According to the Chinese symbol for crisis, it is made up from two other symbols, which are danger and opportunity. We can collapse under the weight of the crisis (danger), or we can learn to develop new skills (opportunity), to meet it head on. Continue reading “Crisis as Opportunity – Critical Incident Stress Management”

Who Helps Those That Help Us

by Steven Gerlang, EMT
Central Islip Hauppauge Volunteer Ambulance

Steven Gerlang
Steven Gerlang

Our emergency service workers; Police Officers, Firefighters, Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians: psychological well-being is often taken for granted and over looked. Studies have shown that there are roughly 18 to 20 members of our Emergency Services that take their own lives each day here in the United States (the exact amount is unknown as many of these deaths go down as “accidental overdoses” or “accidental weapon discharges”). More services should be offered to these individuals that we expect so much from. What can be done about it and why hasn’t the media stirred public outrage over these numbers? What causes these men and women to feel so isolated and alone that they decide to take their own lives?

The mental well-being of our nation’s first responders goes unnoticed and untreated: the media would rather keep us occupied with the circus of the current presidential debates; than the current growing suicide epidemic facing our nation’s bravest and finest. Why do we as a country look at mental illness as a taboo? We are one of the most advanced countries in the world when it comes to technology and medicine; yet we ignore or stigmatize those we entrust with public safety and security for seeking help after they have seen too much of humanities worst. This stigmatization in our country is one of the key reasons many of our first responders do not seek help for mental health issues they may experience from the traumas they experience; one of the fears they have is being ostracized by their co-workers or employers for asking for help. By being afraid to seek help, these brave men and woman are left feeling isolated, alone and helpless with their emotions. Continue reading “Who Helps Those That Help Us”

Resilient and Stronger

by Sgt. Mark St. Hilaire

Resilience: The ability to recover or adjust easily (1); the ability to become strong, healthy or successful again after something bad happens (2).

Sgt. Mark St. Hilaire
Sgt. Mark St. Hilaire

2013 has been a year which has tested many first responders’ resiliency, mine included.

The test for me began on April 15, while I was attending the ILEETA (International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association) conference in Illinois.  I received a text message from an out-of-state friend telling me that a bomb had gone off at the Boston Marathon.  The Boston Marathon comes straight through the middle of my community.  I started calling some of my officers who were back home to find out what was going on.  I was barraged with more text messages from family and friends checking on me.  The initial reports were confusing, but I soon found out that my community 14 miles west of Boston was safe.

I experienced mixed feelings through the rest of that week.  Many friends at the conference, my family and personal friends assured me that I was where I was supposed to be. Continue reading “Resilient and Stronger”