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Thoughts From A Clinician

Thoughts from a Clinician: Raising Mental Health Awareness

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As medical professionals we tend to respond to a lot of different and often difficult situations.  The way we’ve trained our minds and our emotions to deal with the situation is to get the job done.  It is safe to say that we become emotionally closed off to what is going on around us in order to complete the mission.  Fantastic!  We completed our task and our shift is over, now what?  Who takes care of us when we need it?  These are the tough questions that need to be answered and things we need to discuss within our community. Unfortunately, all too often medical professionals feel isolated, with the hopeless feeling that nobody will understand what they’re going through.  Far too often substance abuse and suicide are the result of unresolved PTSD and other mental health issues.  We are so busy giving our patients the best possible chance, but what about us?  What can we do?  Where can we go or direct a friend in need of assistance?  One source that seeks to become the answer is the Code Green Campaign. 

Mission of the Code Green Campaign

“To bring awareness to the high rates of mental health issues in first responders and reduce them. To eliminate the stigma that prevents people from admitting these issues and asking for help. To educate first responders on self and peer care and to lobby for systemic change in how mental health issues are addressed by first responder agencies.”

The Code Green Campaign is an excellent source of information and resource for help. Code Green was established to get first responders talking about mental health and to raise awareness, but it can also be used to help those in need.  Code Green was established to give those in the first responder community an outlet.  This is something that had really never existed for the EMS/Firefighting community until now.  The reality is that these are tough things to bring up for anyone.  As emergency personnel we are designed to handle everyone’s problems, but we are not equipped to handle our own. 

Recently I experienced the suicide death of one of my friends who is a fellow Firefighter/EMT due to unresolved mental health issues.  His death has sparked a fire within my close-knit community of first responders to get the word out regarding mental health.  Let us begin to have those tough conversations.  At least then we can have the dialog open and individuals can feel like they are getting help.  The unfortunate thing is that I cannot bring back my friend.  The reality of things is that we CAN help others with their problems.  I feel it is more important now than ever before to educate each other on mental health.  Talk to each other and help each other deal with difficult calls and situations in your personal life.  We are all humans and we all go through emotional ups and downs.  This job is stressful enough and we deal with enough that being alone does not have to be anyone’s reality.  Please visit www.codegreencampaign.org for more information and to help raise awareness on first responder mental health.  It’s time to get serious about caring for each other and giving each other the best possible chance.  Thanks for reading!

Be safe and remember to always think like a clinician!  Take care.  

References:

(1) www.codegreencampaign.org

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Klint is a United States trained Critical Care Paramedic, who hold specialty certifications in neonatal and pediatric transport as well as being Flight Paramedic certified (FP-C).  He is currently pursuing a Baccalaureate degree in EMS Management through Western Carolina University.  Klint works full time as Flight Paramedic in the Midwest, USA.  He is also an EMS / Critical Care instructor with DistanceCME.  In addition, Klint is FlightBridgeED’s newest blog author and is heavily involved in Free Open Access Medication Education and EMS Education.  Klint can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or on Twitter at @NoDesat

 

 

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