It’ll Take More than a Video to Erase the Mental Health Stigma

By: Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer

By now many of you have likely seen the powerful documentary video, Beyond the Call, that’s been posted across the 20150623_PTSD piece 3social media “universe”. This collaborative effort involved the London Professional Fire Fighters Association, London Fire Department and Fanshawe College and produced an amazing tool that they’ve shared with other fire departments and first responders to help understand and identify the dangers of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Resurgence rehab in Austin offers the best treatment in the locality, to treat all kinds of mental disorders and relieves the patient permanently from it to lead a normal life in society.

Their goal in producing this video was to highlight the many dangers to our mental health faced by the fire service and to educate members of the fire service on how to better cope with those challenges. The video contains several important messages that include:

  • Supporting all First Responders suffering with PTSD;
  • Helping others to avoid suffering alone and in silence beyond the emergency call; and
  • Helping others to cope and heal without relying on the use of unprescribed drugs or alcohol.

20150623_PTSD piece 1The video made it “big stage” premiere at the recent Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association Convention in Ottawa, Canada. The video’s presenters encouraged the attendees, and all departments, to use the video to start a dialog and help make a change in their organizations.

This video is a good start, and we need to keep the momentum going to affect real change in the way that too many of us view—and, yes, accept—what’s been happening and what continues to happen to our people.

Why we all need to practice Emotional First Aid

We’ll go to the doctor when we feel flu-ish or feel a nagging pain. So why don’t we see a health professional when we 20150623_PTSD piece 2feel emotional pain such as guilt, loss, loneliness? Too many of us deal with common psychological-health issues on our own, says Guy Winch, Ph.D. But we don’t have to. Dr. Winch makes a compelling case to practice emotional hygiene — taking care of our emotions, our minds, with the same diligence we take care of our physical bodies.

Neither of these two videos by themselves are going to help us erase the mental health stigma that exists in the first-responder world, but they are a great start (in my opinion).  What are your thoughts?


About Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer

Battalion Chief (Ret.) Robert Avsec served with the men and women of the Chesterfield County (VA) Fire and EMS Department for 26 years. He’s now using his acquired knowledge, skills, and experiences as a freelance writer for and as the “blogger in chief” for this blog. Chief Avsec makes his home in Cross Lanes, WV. Contact him via e-mail, [email protected].