Mental Health

Paramedics: Our First Defence

I have been wanting to write a piece about our brave paramedics – those men, women and those of other identities – for a long time. However, I have never been able to work out the best way to do that. Today, I am going to try my best to pay tribute to our paramedics, our first defence. Fitting, considering we are in the throes of the biggest medical emergency of our time.

Having spent fifteen years in the fire service, I have had the honour of working beside this compassionate and very highly-skilled group of people. Many of them in fact, love helping so much, that they are also members of the fire-service community. So, I have nothing but the deepest admiration and respect for them and their commitment to their communities.

Like what you’re reading? Here’s another You, Me and PTSD, Its hard on love

Why then, are those who are literally on the frontlines, those who seem to get the least amount of recognition? I know, I know, that’s not what being an emergency service worker is about. However, it sure as hell isn’t right to take their dedicated service for granted.

They see entirely too much to have them fade into the background without so much as a “thank you.” That’s got to have an impact on a person. Instead of showing compassion, many people seem to be disgruntled because they had to make way as these brave souls scream their way to yet another human tragedy. They do so on empty stomachs, full bladders and in some cases, exhaustion.

My friends, the paramedic’s struggles are real.

When we take the time to look at the sacrifices made on our behalf, it’s impossible not to see just how incredibly difficult their job is. Long hours, all types of weather and endless human suffering. To me, they are modern-day warriors. If these were medieval times, the paramedics would fight alongside our bravest knights, as they do today – police officers, firefighters, nurses and emergency-room doctors. Like knights, they should enjoy equal admiration for the same battle that they are all fighting together.

One of the most vital professions in the world and it’s reduced to “not important enough”?

I know – you must be thinking, what does this have to do with a mental-health blog? The answer is lots! As far as I’m concerned, paramedics are the most underrated warriors of all first responders. Why exactly? I can’t say but what I do feel is that many, like the rest of us in the emergency services, suffer from PTSD, but we just don’t hear about it. Those first to handle our medical emergency shouldn’t be the last medical professionals we support when they need it.

On occasion, I have had the opportunity to speak with people in paramedicine. Firstly, I make sure I thank them for their service. Secondly, I listen to them. I have heard stories of their colleagues dying by suicide. Many know more than one person whose efforts to save lives has cost them their own. As if trying to mitigate the tragic moments of others wasn’t enough, they must live with the loss of their friends, the people they work beside every day.

Remember them – they are the ones who show up on our doorsteps,

One paramedic shared with me that they have lost six of their colleagues by suicide. Thinking about how I’d feel if I had a similar experience in the fire service, I found their story of loss broke my heart. I simply can’t imagine it. Sadly, his years of sacrifice only compounded my sense of sadness when he went on to tell me that he too was also suffering from the mental health workplace injury, PTSD.

Paramedics our first defence

In criss? go to Crisis Services Canada for help.

In stark contrast, I don’t know of a single case of a firefighter dying by suicide – not in my department or any other in the surrounding areas. With that said, I have little doubt that PTSD is lurking in the shadows of every fire hall across the land. For my former fire-service family members, please get the help you need. There is hope.

My friends, their struggle is real and we must acknowledge that. Paramedics, our first defence. deserve that much and as far as I’m concerned, much more.

“PTSD cannot be beaten when one suffers in silence. I’m sure there is a correlation between mitigating humanity’s chaos and the mythical oath of “We don’t talk about it”. John Arenburg.

So, as we find ourselves being immersed deeper and deeper into this pandemic, remember them. They are the ones who show up on our doorsteps, the first to administer life-saving medications and the ones who roll the sick through the doors of the ERs. Simply put, when we are sick, these highly-skilled professionals are there.

I will leave you with this fact: because some governments don’t value their worth, paramedics are listed as non-essential staff in some places in Canada. Non-essential? Imagine that! More importantly, think about how that must feel to them. One of the most important, most necessary professionals in the entire world and it’s reduced to “not important enough”? Talk about having a horrible boss.

Despite this, we can change that. We have it within us to take the time to thank them in our darkest hour. Their contribution to the covid-19 battle is and will continue to be immeasurable. So please, take the time to think about their value to our society. Paramedics, our first defence. Moreover, please try and understand the impact that this noblest of professions has on the hearts and mental health of these wonderful people who will work tirelessly to save lives.

I would like to take the time to acknowledge your hard work, your sacrifice and tireless efforts in this most uncertain and tragic time. Moreover, I wish all good health to both you and your families. I stand with our Paramedics, our first defence

I want you to live: Go to Crisis Services Canada If you need help

Want to help make my book a reality? Donate here: GoFundMe

Contact: The Road To Mental Wellness

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