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.
by Steven Gerlang, EMT
Central Islip Hauppauge Volunteer Ambulance
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”→
During a class last week, a lady made the comment: “That’s the problem with police, you don’t show enough feeling. You don’t feel enough.” She’s adopted without examination that particularly dangerous leftist idea that this nation’s protectors are inhuman security robots, walking through the world without experiencing it. Her assumption that those who purchase peace through violence are somehow less deserving. Anyway, I stewed over the weekend on it, and wrote the following this morning. Continue reading “The Tyranny of Feeling”→
“God is in control.” This is such a simple statement, yet one that exhibits a deepening faith, which requires that I trust in the Lord with all my heart for every situation and circumstance. God has a master plan, a higher goal and a special purpose for my life.
His ways and thoughts are not my ways and thoughts. I may even fail to comprehend the path that I am following; but I must not lean on my own understanding. In all ways, I am to acknowledge Him for He is God, the Creator. He knew me before I was formed inside the very womb of my mother. He knows my thoughts before I ever speak a word. Nothing I do is hidden from His eyes. Continue reading “A Quiet Moment, God is in Control”→
Based upon his emotional survival guidebook: “Bulletproof Spirit: The First Responders Essential Resource for Protecting and Healing Mind and Heart” (New World Library, 2014) firstresponderwellness.com
Consistently being immersed in violence, tragedies, danger, evil, and suffering can often scar the spirit of any first responder. Tragically, each year more officers kill themselves than die in the line of duty, with an estimated 120,000 more suffering from symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is essential for first responder agencies and individuals to incorporate proactive emotional survival training and wellness initiatives that nurture, protect, and heal the spirit—to bulletproof officer’s spirits to prevent them from becoming victims of their chosen profession.
The adverse effects of a career as a first responder are poisonous and cumulative. Like a cancer, dedicated yet unsuspecting officers have the potential to slowly succumb to the toxic, debilitating effects of acute stress and trauma with little training on how to effectively process the internal damage. The job has an inherent ability to turn officers into someone their loved ones no longer recognize. First responder agencies nation-wide lose far too many officers due to their inability, primarily from lack of wellness training, to prepare for and process stress and trauma in a constructive way. Losing an officer to suicide, depression, or emotional suffering should never be just part of the job. There are effective wellness practices that can work to insulate the spirit of officers and help them reach a natural retirement with a healthy mind, body, and spirit. Continue reading “Bulletproof Spirit: Emotional Survival and Effective Wellness Strategies”→