One of the greatest things about being an EMS blogger is that we become acquainted with other providers from different systems and backgrounds that we otherwise might not have the opportunity to know. One such provider that I’ve had the pleasure to get to know along the way is Jonathan Tullos, a paramedic from Mississippi who also happens to be a United Methodist Church reverend. While he’s not focusing his blogging on EMS anymore, just like anyone else, there are events that will bring the provider out in him.
He recently blogged about a personal experience he had related to a fellow provider’s suicide in his post Code Green. Here is a brief excerpt I’d like to highlight:
There is a stigma in society in general but especially in EMS about seeking help for mental health issues. One is often seen as weak or as a poor provider for feeling that they need to seek counseling to help process bad calls or other issues. We’re told to “forget about it and move on.” This leads to EMS providers becoming bitter people. This leads to PTSD. This leads to suicide.*
It’s time to end this stigma. It’s time to admit that many of us are walking around with memories of calls which do effect our lives and our careers. It’s time to admit that many of us do need help and it’s time for us to stop telling our brothers and sister that they are less for seeking help. It’s time for EMS agencies to take their employees’ mental health seriously and to help them find the services that can save their lives. It’s time for us to take care of one another and stop judging and criticizing.
We have to have each others’ backs.
I really couldn’t have said it better myself.
Anyone who has heard me talk on the state of the EMS culture when it comes to mental illness knows my stance (and I’ve touched on it a bit about when talking about The Crushing Responsibility of Adultism) that we as an industry and a profession dedicated to helping others need to do a better job of helping one another. We need to be more accepting, more vigilant, and more proactive when it comes to each other. We need to be able to say definitively that yes indeed, we are our brother’s (or sister’s) keeper when it comes to their well being and we need to demonstrate that we care for each other as much as we do the complete strangers in need we run to on a daily basis.
There is a campaign that was started called the Code Green Campaign. I’ll be honest, I haven’t really mentioned it previously because I don’t know who is behind it. I’ve become wary and cynical in my old internet age of well meaning campaigns and movements that start off strong and then fizzle out with little to no change by people who I haven’t necessarily become acquainted with previously. It becomes a capacity issue for myself, but it doesn’t mean that they aren’t doing good things that could benefit a lot of providers. So, with that said, be sure to visit The Code Green Campaign on your social media platform of choice:
- The Code Green Campaign Website
- The Code Green Campaign Facebook
- The Code Green Campaign Twitter (@CodeGreenEMS)
- The Code Green Campaign Instagram
Be well and good to each other…