Mental health

FiremanMike

EMS Coordinator
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Just to echo what Remi said, most of us from the "John Wayne generation" (WWII, early boomers) -- especially males -- were taught to endure stress and misfortune while hiding our feelings. Consequently, there was little regard for counselling, debriefing, or almost any other outpatient interventions to preserve mental health. That's not an excuse for people my age to belittle anyone in distress, but it might help those of you much younger to understand why some senior EMS providers feel less urgency than you do about addressing PTSD. Remember, we didn't even know what PTSD is.
I understand why they have the mentality they do, but I find it frustrating in all aspects of life when people are unwilling to evolve their thought processes. I find it especially upsetting on topics such as this, where we have providers struggling with substance abuse and suicide as unhealthy coping mechanisms because the previous generation (which is now in charge) refuses to acknowledge this is an issue that can be addressed.
 

DrParasite

The fire extinguisher is not just for show
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Did you watch the video? PTSD is the same thing as Shell shock from WWI, just with a different name. Conditions with the same symptoms have been around for decades, likely before you even got into EMS (and definitely before me), and while the name changes every few years, the condition hasn't.

It's not new, it's just finally being recognized as affecting EMS too, and that is truly a failure on previous generations of EMS leadership (and I guess society as a whole) for not seeing what was happening to their personnel.
 

mgr22

Forum Deputy Chief
1,001
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Did you watch the video? PTSD is the same thing as Shell shock from WWI, just with a different name. Conditions with the same symptoms have been around for decades, likely before you even got into EMS (and definitely before me), and while the name changes every few years, the condition hasn't.

It's not new, it's just finally being recognized as affecting EMS too, and that is truly a failure on previous generations of EMS leadership (and I guess society as a whole) for not seeing what was happening to their personnel.
I said we didn't know what PTSD is -- "PTSD," as in THAT NAME for the disease formerly known as shell shock or battle fatigue. We knew what shell shock was. One of my teachers had it. We called him "Shell Shock Sherman."

Would it be ok if we stopped debating my personal experiences? Feel free to share your own.
 

johnrsemt

Forum Deputy Chief
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I had a co-worker like that: I was walking into A & R at our primary hospital; and saw a friend sitting in the ambulance waiting for his partner. He looked a little off, so I stopped and talked to him. He seemed down and slow to respond. I went inside and asked his partner what was up with him and his partner said he was depressed all day, and the last thing he told him as he came inside was he had better be in the truck when he came back out.
So I sat in the training for a few minutes, got up to walk back outside, and got the attention of our medical director, who followed me out, and I told him I was worried about a co-worker.
We both talked to him for a couple of minutes, took him inside to the ED and got him checked out. Yea he would have been in truck when his partner came back out 2 hours later, he had taken a lethal dose of anti depressants.

Friend is now doing great, FT FF EMT; engaged. He wouldn't talk to me for about 6 months after it happened, but after he realized he didn't lose his job, no one made fun of him (except his partner from that night, who he never had to work with again); he finally forgave me. But even if he never had, I would have been ok with it. Better than him dying
 
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