Breaking the stigma of mental health struggles for first responders


LAKE. 3 THANKS FOR JOINING US FIRST AT TEN– I’M BILL WADELL.AND I’M KATHLYNN STONE.WE OFTEN SEE FIRST RESPONDERS AS HEROES… BUT SOME FEEL- -THEY HAVE NO WHERE TO GO..WHEN THEY NEED HELP.THE HORRIFIC SCENES THEY DEAL WITH ON A DAILY BASIS CAN TAKE A TOLL.NOW, A LOCAL MAN IS USING THE LOSS OF A CLOSE TRAGEDY— INTO A LESSON TO HELP OTHER FIRST RESPONDERS– WHO ARE STRUGGLING WITH SUICIDAL THOUGHTS.HE JOINS US NOW LIVE.ERIC, WHAT’S THE 3 BIGGEST MESSAGE HE WANTS TO SHARE? 3 JONATHAN SMITH STARTED WHAT’S CALLED— PUTTING A DENT IN ALL FIRST RESPONDERS LIKE THE ONES HERE…HE WANTS THEM ALL TO KNOW IT’S OK TO TALK TO PEOPLE ABOUT THE ISSUES THEY FACE 3 “WE WENT ON FAMILY VACATIONS TOGETHER, WE WERE THERE FOR FAMILY TRAGEDIES. WE WERE ALWAYS TOGETHER.”JUST LAST YEAR JONATHAN SMITH LOST HIS BEST FRIEND AND FELLOW FRANKLIN COUNTY CAREER EMT AND FIREFIGHTER ROBERT DENT.”ERIC: WHAT WAS IT LIKE LOSING HIM? 3 JONATHAN: IT WAS A TOUGH BLOW. IT WAS REALLY HARD BECAUSE I HIM… AND HE DISCOVERED FIRST RESPONDERS ARE MORE LIKELY TO COMMIT SUICIDE THAN THE AVERAGE PERSON…. AND HE THINKS IT’S DUE IN PART TO THE STIGMA THEY FACE.”AS A CHILD WHO DO YOU LOOK UP FOR AS HEROES? IT’S YOUR FIRST RESPONDERS. SO WHEN YOU’RE CONSIDERED A HERO IT’S HARD TO SAY I FEEL DEFEATED BECAUSE OF THIS BAD CALL OR THIS BAD CALL. SO IT MAKES IT THAT MUCH HARDER TO SAY I NEED HELP BECAUSE YOU FEEL LIKE YOU’RE A SUPER HERO.”SO HE WANTED TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. HE STARTED THE GROUP, PUTTING A DENT IN MENTAL HEALTH.”ROBBIE, MY BEST FRIEND WHO COMMITTED SUICIDE, ANYTIME YOU WOULD ASK HIM TO HELP YOU DO ANYTHING HE WOULD ALWAYS SAY PUT A DENT IN IT. HIS LAST NAME WAS DENT.”THE GROUP WORKS TO RAISE AWARENESS TO HELP BREAK THE STIGMA.THEY ALSO HELP SPONSOR A NEW CLASS HOSTED BY THE NEAR SOUTHWEST PREPAREDNESS ALLIANCE… HELP LOVED ONES AND CO- WORKERS.. OF FIRST RESPONDERS . “AFTER TAKING THIS COURSE AND LOOKING BACK, IN CAN NOW SEE THE RED FLAGS I DIDN’T SEE BEFORE. SO KNOWING THAT I’M TRAINED NOW TO SEE THESE RED FLAGS AND TO SEE THE BEHAVIORAL PATTERN CHANGES, IT MEANS A LOT MORE TO ME BECAUSE MAYBE I CAN HELP SAVE THE NEXT PERSON.” 3 THE NSPA IS HOSTING ANOTHER MENTAL HEALTH CLASS SCHEDULED FOR APRIL AND IT’S ALREADY FULL WITH A WAIT LIST!THEY’VE ALREADY HAD REQUEST FOR MORE CLASSES THAT SHOULD BE OPENING SOON!THE CLASS INSTRUCTOR SAYS IT SHOWS THE NEED AND THE INTEREST FOR THE CLASS. 3 ERIC– THANK YOU. 3 IN ADDITION TO SPONSORING CLASSES– THE GROUP WILL ALSO HOST PUBLIC EVENTS— TO RAISE AWARENESS.THE FIRST EVENT IS SET FOR MAY FIFTH IN MONETA. 3

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