This guest blog was sent into us via email (details below). We are sharing it, because we are passionate about the mental health and safety of our colleagues working on the front line of the emergency services & NHS.
We are, quite frankly, shocked at just how many experienced paramedics are leaving the service. Something has to be done. The Government MUST address this situation and do more…
‘As I write this I look around and am surrounded by colleagues who spend their working days trying to help others.
‘These very same people are battling their own demons whilst delivering care and compassion in sometimes impossible circumstances.
‘Endless jobs stack on the screens, which we have no hope in ever clearing. People are dying. Our patients are dying because there aren’t enough of us.
‘I open a letter addressed to me. It comes as no surprise. A Paramedic with over 30 years experience has written his resignation. This is the 5th in as many months. That’s over 100 years of clinical experience gone…
‘just like that. It’s irreplaceable.
‘I drive through the 4am deserted streets of this city and memories flow into and out of my mind. I choose not to fight them, I allow them to come and go like the tide being drawn by the brightest moon.
‘One memory leads to another and although they are completely unrelated they flow seamlessly together. The man hanging in the outbuilding, the bodies entwined in the twisted metal, the smell of burnt flesh, the taste of a mother’s milk on the lips of her tiny baby and the feeling of a dying brain as my fingers feel the boggy mass of a crushed skull. All of my senses are overwhelmed but I grip the steering wheel and I remember to breathe.
‘Six or seven years ago when I walked into the bathroom and saw a woman hanging in there I immediately thought my 999 career was over. Fast forward to 2018 when, and I suspect that it’s largely thanks to the #metoo campaign, it seems to be generally accepted to admit that #itsokaynottobeokay.
‘Despite that, it’s still such a taboo subject to discuss. Maybe it’s time to accept that we really are all a little bit broken, but that’s okay.
‘I can’t help but wonder if any of my fallen colleagues who have previously chosen to end their lives who may have battled with similar demons would have chosen that route given the acceptance available today.
‘I can drive along at night and if I look to the left of the vehicle if I’m traveling with blue lights on I can see faces of patients in the bushes as I speed by. A smell can take me back instantly to a situation that I would give almost anything to forget.
‘I see dead people.
‘Apparently that’s perfectly normal. It’s a normal reaction to an abnormal situation. Your brain is trying to process the information it has been given. It replays in our waking hours in the form of flashbacks or intrusive memories and invades our sleep with nightmares and fear. It’s perfectly normal.
‘I wish it would fuck off though.’
If you would like to connect with the Author of this blog, then they have given us permission to share their public Facebook profile.
If you are in the emergency services and would like to speak to someone about any of the issues raised in this blog, then Mind have a dedicated ‘blue light’ campaign intended specifically for members of the emergency services.
A statement on the Mind.org.uk website states:
‘Our independent research shows that members of the emergency services are even more at risk of experiencing a mental health problem than the general population, but are less likely to seek support.
‘Mind is delivering the Blue Light Programme to provide mental health support for emergency services staff and volunteers from ambulance, fire, police and search and rescue services across England and Wales.
‘Thousands of staff and volunteers across these services have actively challenged mental health stigma, learnt more about mental health and made positive changes in their approach to wellbeing with the support of the Blue Light Programme so far.’
To visit their website and find out more, follow this link —>
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