2021, putting our differences aside

2021 Putting Our Differences Aside.

Let’s work hard in 2021, putting our differences aside to fight for normalcy. Together, we can lower the incidence of mental and physical illness.

As 2020 disappears into the pages of history, it will, no doubt be many years before it is forgotten, if ever at all. It truly is one for the history books. Having said that, there’s no reason we can leap into the new year with a sense of optimism and hope. #2021

While its true, 2020 hit everyone hard, thanks to COVID-19, there is hope on the horizon. A few vaccines have been produced and are now being administered. While this is great news, it is still up to us to minimize the virus impact on the world. Sadly, the pandemic has taken its toll. The reality is all around us.

Regardless of where your opinion lies on the subject, one thing I think we can all agree on is we all have a collective, deep in the guts hopefulness within; one that wants to see some of what we once knew. For me, I am trying to think of 2021 as a year of healing. So, let’s work hard in 2021, putting our differences aside, so we can achieve this common desire.

Therefore, I want to focus on our similarities as opposed to our differences. What if we did embrace our differences and put them aside and worked together for the common good? Maybe this could lead us down the road to a collective resolution? If we are to put the brakes on the mental health crisis we are seeing, I think working together is our best chance.

The COVID-19 Mental Health Epidemic

Perhaps the best example of cohesion for the common good I have ever seen has been in the fire service. While I’m sure there are more amazing teams working together, this is where my own experiences are.

Firstly, The fire service is astounding, and it’s the members who make it that way. A conglomeration of people who sign up for duty to move to heaven and earth to make it work for the betterment of their communities. Personally, I’ve never seen anything quite like it.

How we can work together for the common good

Not surprisingly, the service, like any other organization, isn’t without its controversy. In fact, its challenges can get darn right intense. Likewise, the solutions offered up to resolve them, well lets just say, they can be polarizing to say the least.

As much as we don’t enjoy opposition, that’s life. In reality, not everyone will agree all the time. Nonetheless, It is however, normal. Likewise, disagreement is even helpful. Can you imagine never having any other option tabled, never considered? How would we grow? Furthermore, how would an organization move forward?

Yet, despite knowing this, we remain divided. Why? Well, I think what lies at the heart of the matter is a lack of listening to one another. Instead, we are waiting to react. Although we all want to be heard, not listening to others can be, well, rather counterproductive.

Today, so far as I’m concerned, defensiveness seems to be set on autopilot, making reacting, rather than listening the norm.

Learn how to mediate with others HERE

Because firefighting by its very nature is a profession of life or death, individual differences and conflicts are actively discouraged on the fire ground. This rule is so ingrained in the members, that once on an active scene, I have seen a complete transformation between two opposing persons. It’s awesome to see play out. If you didn’t know their history, you would never know that there was tension between them. Instead, what you see are two family-like members willing to lay down their life for one another and for people they have never met.

Having bared witness to temporary reconciliation for the greater good, countless times over my fifteen year stent in the service, I know that society at large can ban together; that we can set aside our difference of opinion and united to beat this virus.

Something to think about.

While seeing the world in a variety of ways is a good thing, it is still worth looking at what’s before us with a wide lens. For example, lockdowns impact everyone, and they don’t consider opinions or feeling. As difficult as this is for everyone, the question becomes how do WE get out of this sooner rather than later? I believe that complying now, regardless of belief towards it, will get everyone what they want sooner. Therefore, let’s put our differences on hold for now, work together and get on with it. Unleash your inner firefighter.

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Photo by Oleg Zaicev on Pexels.com

So, if the members of the fire service can put their opinions and other differences aside under such potentially mentally and physically damaging circumstances, why can’t we? there’s no question, we are living in such challenging times that few of us if any, are not feeling the heat.

In my experience, putting our differences aside does indeed add to the best possible outcome. Let’s listen and stand in solidarity. together so we can end the chaos.

Happy New Year! May 2121 be filled with joy and renewal.

Jonathan

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The Road To Mental Wellness – The Book

Cover reveal

I am excited to announce that I will be revealing my first book cover in mid January. Called The Road To Mental Wellness, it chronicles my lifelong battles with mental illness. It’s goal? To help others by telling my story…. Check back for updates. However, if you would like to see it sooner, simply subscribe to The Road To Mental Wellness email list and I will be more than happy to send you the exclusive fist look at it.

Order Lemonade Stand Vol. III here

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Check out our Mental Health Resources Page

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Doing it wrong wrong for so long

We do something wrong for so long

We human are funny creatures, sometimes we do something wrong for so long, we believe to be right. But is this always the case?

I am like many of you; once I saw the injustice that has embedded itself into the mental health care system, I felt compelled to act. Over the course of advocating for myself, the battle was very disheartening. Why does everything have to be about money?

We hear this all the time, don’t we? There’s no money, we had to cut our budget. While on the surface, this seems true but is it really? I mean, looking at anything just on it’s surface only gives you a first glance at an issue, at least, this is how I see it.

So, if we dig deeper, are we really broke as a nation? Or could it be true that the money is being spent hand over fist on other, more frivolous things?

Where does the money go?

How many times have you heard that government has bailed out yet another corporation, gave themselves a raise or “invested” it into something? Lots right? This is a clear reallocation of money and it happens all the time. I find myself asking, what is the human cost of this misspending?

Sure, it’s true that there is only so much money to go around but with that said, the more important question here is, where is it going? How is the debt larger yet the “deep cuts needed” haven’t made a dent?

We do something wrong for so long.

An American battalion chief, a keynote speaker at a fire service conference I was attending said; “Sometimes, as firefighters we do something wrong for so long, that we believe it to be right.” Since that day, his words have always echoed in my head. I think this statement is not only true of the fire service but of many other areas in society.

house money capitalism fortune
Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com – We do something wrong for so long.
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Could this be true of our political systems? Let’s be honest, where the politicians put our money can make one shake their head. For example, some local, provincial and federal governments will cut funding to emergency services. Unthinkable; instead, they spend it on flags, trail development or some other trivial project; a move that is the equivalent to you and I, neglecting our mortgage payment to pay for our recreational desires; this would be silly to most. As far as I’m concerned, government spending is one of these scenarios that the battalion chief spoke of.

Like what you are reading? Try Our mental well-being.

I think we can agree that there’s no denying that money, whether taxpayers or personal, needs to go to the essentials first. While a beautiful walking trail is very nice to have; its irresponsible to cut from essential services to have this added bonus in one’s community. When we think about it, it’s silly to keep up appearances when lives are put at risk and there’s a very real chance that some could die because of this decision.

The mental health picture.

So then, why are we being told there’s no money for mental health care but the coffers seem to be full for the wealthy and their corporations? Well, in my view it’s because we’ve been doing it wrong for so long we think it’s right. However, with a bit of critical thinking, we can easily see that our priority should be on the services that benefit the country as a whole.

Given that mental health issues are on the rise because of Covid-19, we need more funding for mental health resources and professionals to help combat this rise. Now is not the time to spend money on things that may be pretty and nice, but don’t provide any long-lasting solution for society as a whole.

Hear people tell their story on Men Are Nuts Podcast

A good metric to use in my opinion is that of human suffering. For example, are people with mental health conditions getting the help they need? The answer to this question is, some. But with that said, there are so many more going without…… Honestly, our fiscal misdirection in our society is making us sicker and is not the golden goose egg we’ve been led to believe. How many people are dying because of it?

And it’s not just mental health, its healthcare in general, it’s a shortage of doctors, nurses, paramedics, firefighters, forestry firefighters food inspectors, police, psychologists, social workers, plow drivers, just to name a few. This is, of course, made worse by the lack of facilities and the tools to do their jobs. How much of a cost is there to the people? These are not mere, “needs to save more,” issues they are real and legitimate health risks to the population. How many people have died because of this “fiscal responsibility?” Lots. Furthermore, what are the economic cost of putting the population at risk for a new stadium whilst neglecting the hospitals?

The cost of favouring a few over the majority is enormous. Yet it is business as usual? There is money to make the health of our nation the priority, we just need to put it where it belongs; on the people who invest the money in the form of taxes to have what they need. People first!

Checkout the book I helped to write:

Lemonade Stand: Vol. III 

Created by Josh Rivedal and Kathleen Myre, Lemonade Stand: Vol. III is a compilation of 20 stories from those who have served in the emergency services and the military.  In it, the authors talk about their battles with PTSD, a debilitating and for many, a life-long mental illness.  So, if you are from the military or emergency service’s, perhaps this book can help you combat the feelings of isolation and fear that frequently comes with post-traumatic stress disorder. Sometimes, just knowing that there are others out there, just like you, can provide you with the strength and courage to speak up and or get the help you need. The intention of this book is to help with that…. You’re not alone.

Also, Lemonade Stand: Vol III was written to help combat the stigma that often accompanies mental illness, best of all, it attempts to give all you served their countries and communities a voice… Which is amazing!

Pre order today

If you are struggling please go here for help: Crisis Services Canada

OR

Checkout our Mental Health Resources Page

Contact me on my Facebook page: The Road To Mental Wellness

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Can a new day be a new start?
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Collective silence

The collective Silence

Being gifted or cursed with a mind that likes to go into problem-solver mode whenever it’s presented with a problem that’s in need of solving, I find myself lost in a mindset that wants to remedy a situation; especially if it involves the struggles that people are facing. One thing I’ve learned? Nothing can be solved by the collective silence.
So when I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder,  I went to work – not only on my own personal battle with this debilitating mental health condition but I set my mind to finding a way to minimize the damage to my colleagues in the fire service. What can be done to save people from the nightmares, flashbacks and fear associated with this disorder?
After some pondering, I eventually came to the conclusion that early intervention may be the key to mitigating this mostly silent epidemic. I was so convinced that this was a great potential weapon against the traumatizing effects of PTSD  that I felt compelled to share it with my old station.
In my email, I recommended that a set number of firefighters be trained to recognize the early signs of trauma and assist vulnerable members with an ear that will listen, a form of peer support. More specifically though, these early interveners would also have the knowledge of the resources available so mentally injured members could have access to the resources and professional help they need.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, one of the biggest risk factors for developing PTSD is the lack of social support sufferers receive after a traumatic incident. In my view, this fact highlights the importance of having an in-house support structure, the earlier the better.
Sadly, the reply I received was, in short, that until the government does something nothing can be done. Funny, we all join with a desire to help others in their moments of chaos but fall short of helping our brothers and sisters heal from their mental illness injury, one that was likely caused by the very thing they signed up for.


Watch After the sirens (CBC) Here
This wash your hands approach leaves members out in the cold, feeling betrayed and unsupported by the very organization that claims its a tight-knit family. If This is the case, in many stations it could fit the definition for a dysfunctional one.
So, if lack of support is a factor in the development of PTSD, then why are we not working towards changing that? Why are we waiting for someone else to do something about it? Are we, as a “family” not contributing and perpetuating this epidemic with our individual and collective silence?


If you are lacking the support that you need, try Project Trauma Support
In Crisis? Go to Crisis Services Canada
 
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