I am told that in the United States there are 18 Million potential heroes. Yes, 18,000,000 men and women who are actively, or retired from, positions, where their primary work involves saving or protecting the citizens of this country. Included in this group are people you know, the Police personnel, Firefighters, Emergency Medical Responders, Correctional Officers, Active Military, and retired veterans of the these services. They all have stories to tell regarding their service and the heroic actions they have taken or witnessed in the course of their work. Many of these heroes have been affected physically or emotionally by their activities. Most will not discuss the emotional scars that they bare from traumatic events in which they participated. If they can talk about the traumatic events, it is usually with co-workers that they trust because “civilians would not really understand.”
Acknowledgement of their service can make the difference between healing from their emotional scars or following a much more negative pathway. Did you know that our police heroes have an extremely higher rate of death by suicide than the civilian population? Divorce is higher, as is, early death (statistics say 10 years less than the “normal” population.) Historically, returning Vietnam veterans were treated to often harsh welcomes when they returned from service in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Those who had family and community support, appreciation, and acknowledgement fared much better with their mental and emotional rehabilitation.
Currently, a stream of military personnel are returning from long tours of duty in the Middle East. Their healthy re-integration is tested by the existing systems and our society will bear the costs of long term physical and mental health challenges. Amongst these returnees, we see National Guard personnel who are returning to their civilian jobs and lives.
We even have a new class of warriors who work at war during their day and go home to their families at night. Technology now allows for pilots to fly “drones” over enemy targets from computers in our country. There are times when these drones release weapons that destroy targets and kill or injure people on the ground. These pilots are not buffered with re-integration processes and may return home to their families at the end of their shifts. These are NOT video games. These are real weapons and real warfare conducted from home (bases.) How do we assist these warriors with their emotional and psychological issues?
We need to view training differently as we prepare our heroes for their professional duties. We need to act preventively and train our heroes how to minimize the impact of PTSD from the traumatic experiences that they participate in. These heroes are too important to our society to let them “break down.” We need to support and assist them in ways that have not been widely used in the past.
Honor, celebrate, support, and reach out to our heroes. Our police personnel, our fire personnel, our Emergency Medical service personnel, our active military personnel, and our veterans deserve much better recognition and service than they often receive.
In the future, we hope to reach out and serve heroes throughout the world by offering training programs for professionals who have PTSD clients and who may offer better services by learning some of the new behavioral techniques for lessening PTSD.
“There are loyal hearts, there are spirits brave, there are souls that are pure and true, then give to the world the best you have, And the best will come back to you.” By Madeline Bridges.
Let’s strive to give our heroes our best!
Contact me for more details regarding professional involvement in this network to support our heroes. The Stress Education center at www.dstress.com
No matter what your opinion regarding the military personnel, police and law enforcement professionals, and other emergency service providers, we are all in this together and need to reach out and support ALL people.