Mental Health Awareness for First Responders

In her book: Resilience in Police and Emergency Personnel (Stephanie M. Conn), does a great job of comparing physical and mental health concerns. She uses the following example:

If a doctor told you that you had cancer, what is the first thing you would do? Tell family members? Contact an oncologist (cancer specialist) to outline a treatment plan? Would you let your friends, co-workers, and employer know about your health concerns?

Now let us change the situation. You have been diagnosed with depression and PTSD. Now what do you do? Would you treat the mental diagnosis in the same manner as the physical diagnosis? Or would you deny it? Hide it? Try to resolve it on your own? 

Unfortunately, for many, the stigma of “mental illness” and the associated perceived sense of weakness prevents individuals from seeking the same level of social support and treatment as they would with a “physical” illness. The distinction made between “mental” and “physical” illness is misguided. The mind and the body are not separate entities. Brain scans of persons with PTSD are different than those who do not have the disease, just as the x-ray of a person with a broken bone is different than a person who does not have a broken bone.

Book Title: Increasing Resilience in Police and Emergency Personnel Strengthening Your Mental Armor

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