If you’re involved in the fire life, you most likely have heard about mental health and PTSD. The talk is growing louder and the stigma slowly is breaking. Think about some of the hardest things you have gone through or have seen. Did you have to brush it under the rug and pretend nothing happened and possibly keep going to scene after scene? Or were you able to talk to someone and talk through those moments. Doing so may help you gain a healthy perspective and allow yourself be okay. Some of the images and calls our firefighters have come across aren’t given the proper time or attention to be dealt with. These calls, these horrific scenes can take a toll on ones mental state. The strain and struggles are brought home to the family stuck with the stigma that no one should talk about it. So, what happens? The family life can pay for it as well. Misunderstandings happen.
This is what was brought to light when I had the privilege to do an Instagram LIVE with John from Are You Ready. (Check it out here https://youtu.be/rtcT-geE8ag ) John who was a chief and now a firefighter in NJ shared his own experiences that cost him his mental state. The drinking went from controlled to controlling him. And all it took to help was someone to take the time and point out the change to him, to realize he needed help. John’s experiences sparked a passion to help others around him who may be going through the same things. He started doing seminars on the subject. Pointing out that you don’t have to be clinically diagnosed with PTSD to experience the repercussions of what the Fire life can do to ones mental state. By talking about his experiences through his seminars he is able to reach more firefighters on a different level. He has lived through it and knows first hand the overwhelming feelings that come along with the hard calls.
In the LIVE we also talked about being on the home end of things and what it’s like. What helps him decompress and when to talk or just silently sit. We went back and forth on the things we both had a hard time with. We were able to talk about the real and raw things of the fire life that both the firefighter and the home front face. As I have talked about through many blogs on here some of the struggles as a fire wife I face, I was able to share a little about that as well. Both sides have a hard job to do and both sides can have their moments where mental health should be made the priority.
There are still a lot of things that will take time to get answers on but the awareness is the goal. It was really amazing to sit down and talk about both sides of the Fire life together and merge the conversations. Before the LIVE we had never had a conversation and live on opposite sides of the U.S. It confirmed for me that there is a move to break the stigma and that we as the ones at home and the ones who are working the fire matter. When we start realizing that it is okay to talk about mental health, PTSD, decompression after a call and at home, then we can start helping our firefighters succeed. Please check out more of John’s story and what he is doing to help break and end the stigma on mental health. The link for Are You Ready will be posted here www.areyoureadyseminar.com and under my links tab. He is always available to talk if you feel that you need someone to talk to. Look him up on Facebook and Instagram. @ryou_ready Please take a moment to watch and consider the things we all can be doing to help each other and ourselves.