Whenever I write about mental health, in the context of someone who has served both in the emergency services and armed forces, then I always think about a former colleague of mine from the thin blue line who took his own life.
The colleague in question, was the sort of Copper who EVERYONE loved because of his compassion, his desire and willingness to help others and his ability to always bring a smile to the faces of his colleagues (and members of the public), even when morale was at rock bottom – for whatever reason.
Unless you have served in the emergency services / armed forces, or have close family members who serve, then it will be extremely hard for you to try and envision the traumatic sights and horrendous scenes which our emergency services, NHS and, of course, armed forces are exposed to.
You might, from time-to-time, see campaigns such as the this one on social media, but I am sure that, naturally, there will be some sort of ‘disconnect’ in relation to understanding how repeated exposure to traumatic incidents can and does affect your own mental health.
When I was on a response team in the Met Police, no-one knew that our colleague, the police officer who took his own life shortly after retiring from the Met, was fighting a battle with his own mental well-being.
A battle that he would end up tragically losing.
Could ‘we’ have ‘saved’ him had we of known about what he was going through? I’m not sure. Would we have tried to help him? Absolutely!
Whether you serve on the front line or not, then at some point during your life, you will undoubtedly have to try and ‘win’ an emotional battle that will take place within your mind.
These emotional events can be triggered by anything. The loss of a loved one. Losing your job. Literally, anything.
Not too long ago, I lost a cousin to suicide.
Again, he was always happy. Always smiling. Always making people laugh. But he is no longer here to share his warmth with those around him.
We should never criticise or judge anyone who ends up losing the battle that takes place within their mind.
Until you have reached the bottom of the pit of despair, then you will never know the effect that such a battle within your mind can have on your decision making process.
And this is why, with an average monthly reach of around 10 million people on social media and with around 500,000 visitors to our website each month, then we are always honoured to be contacted by our former colleagues who wish to share important messages such as this one with their colleagues.
The message in the video below, is that YOU are ONLY human.
The human mind was never really supposed to be exposed to repeated trauma in relation to the type of incidents which we deal/dealt with in the emergency services.
And if you ever feel like you need to speak to someone, then do it!
Times ARE changing. The stigma that used to be attached to those who reached out for help is slowly starting to evaporate.
Over the weekend, we were contacted by Pete Burns. A serving Police Officer who is the male signing in the video below.
He asked us to share the video in order to help get a very important message out there.
And we were only too happy to oblige.
Pete told us:
“This time of year is difficult for so many people and never before have the emergency services been under such pressure.
“We’re wanting members of the emergency services and the general public to know that we’re all human.
“Holly (also in the video) has previously supported the charity through the blue light choir.”
“Myself and Holly Went are the singer’s in this video”.
“We are both serving officers with Northumbria police. The other musicians and video creator are friends who gave up their time free of charge to help this worthwhile cause.”
“We are trying to raise awareness of mental health issues in the emergency services.
“We want our colleagues in all the emergency services to know that they are not alone.”
Please remember, that if you need to speak to someone, then just reach out. If you are not sure who to speak to, then we are always happy to point you in a direction towards people who are willing to help.
Just send us a message via our Facebook pages…
If you have a story or one-off blog that you would like to share with us, then you can contact our team of former emergency services personnel either through our Facebook page, via twitter ( @ES_News_ ) or you can contact us via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to write an article that you would like us to share (it can be about anything to do with the emergency services / NHS) whether you serve in the emergency services / NHS or whether you are a member of the public that has had a good experience with the emergency services, then feel free to contact our team; anonymously if you prefer.
We are proud to act as a voice for the Emergency Services & Health Service, with over 450,000 people visiting our website each month.