Chapter 5 of 5
We have arrived. Chapter 5 of 5. But I won’t call it the final chapter. The whole point of this is for all of us to continue to write more chapters in our stories. We can do this. And we will do it, together.
Just to drive home a point from last week, as we go about our jobs, we know it’s not a one-person gig. There are always times we need to call for backup.
If an engine company arrives on a scene and finds a house fully engulfed, they will call for additional engines/ladders/manpower/etc.
If a police officer finds himself being shot at, he will call for backup. Every officer with a working radio will respond.
If an ambulance crew arrives on the scene of a car crash with multiple victims, they will call for additional ambulances and other resources.
We call for backup all the time. So why are we so afraid to call for back up when we need help with our mental health? This stigma has to go. If you need help dealing with the things going around in your head, call for backup!! There is strength in numbers. Your brothers and sisters will be there for you. And I hope you will be there for them.
Chapter 4 of 5
Welcome back, my friends, to the blog that never ends…well, it will, but we still have some important things to discuss, so come inside, come inside.
For the record, if you didn’t do your homework – watching/reading “Bringing Out the Dead” – it’s okay. There’s obviously no grades here. But I highly recommend it when you get some free time (what’s that, right?).
So, we left off with a question: What do we do about the stigma? The PTSI? The suicides?
The obvious answer is: we have to eliminate the stigma. We have to stop treating mental health as the elephant in the room no one speaks about. We have to spread the word that it’s ok to talk about these things, that it’s ok to not be ok.
This edition of responder values won’t take very long at all, because accountability is really, pretty simple.
We are accountable or we are not.
On or off.
Do or do not.
Accept that we have an obligation to show up in the world around us, or, quite simply, don’t. So be advised, this is what our work is about. If you decide to not show up or you decide you’re not willing to contribute to others; there really is no place for you in first response. Sorry, not sorry.
I did say that accountability is simple, not easy.
So, what is accountability?
Chapter 3 of 5
Here I am again, Lord, asking your help fooooorrrrr a sinner…..oh, wait, not that one, or is it? Last week we looked at some of our brothers and sisters who made the unfortunate decision to end their lives. This week, I want you to take a long, hard look at your organization, your colleagues, and, especially (and probably the hardest), at yourself. At how we respond to this crisis.
First response could be described as the human experience, blared through concert amplifiers.
We do our work right on that line where ‘life as we know it’ collides with stress, confusion and sometimes tragedy. Cold streets covered in broken glass, eerily dark rainy nights, hellfire flames ripping through the picture windows of what was a family home; we not only see with our eyes, we feel with our very souls, this intense human experience.
Our work requires a vigorous character built upon high quality values that we each choose for ourselves.
This month, we have decided to highlight the best of these first responder values.
The goal of this short series is to reveal a few of the personal codes that make first responders such a special tribe. With a New Year and decade on the horizon, we want these articles to start the conversations at our stations about what it means to truly work from our values and how we can all set a higher standard for the calling.
We begin with the ‘dashboard value’ itself - awareness.
Chapter 2 of 5
Hi. Thanks for coming back around.
This week may be a little tough. You know my story, now I want to introduce you to a few of our brothers and sisters who, sadly, did not make the decision I did. They completed suicide. For various reasons. Could they have been prevented? Maybe? Probably…but we’ll never know.