As leaders we must become fierce in the early recognition of a mental health decline in those we work with, family, friends, and most importantly ourselves.
Are you approachable? Are you equipped to assist in a mental health emergency? Does your department have peer support yearly training? Do you have a peer support team? Have you made mental health reactive or proactive? Do you know who is struggling? Have you set the example in the culture that asking for help in your organization is, okay?
Kind Words from Students at the Virginia Fire Officer's Academy
Lieutenant Mitchell's passion for his message was evident in his delivery. He did a phenomenal job maintaining interest, and I thoroughly enjoyed his presentation.
Excellent speaker, the information opened my eyes to emotional growth.
Tough subjects, too many of us can relate to keeping up the shield to show we’re tough. But as he presented those that know us best see right through us and those that show compassion are the ones we appreciate the most.
"The hard truth is that as first responders there are going to be incidents that hang on the walls of your mind forever causing pain and heartbreak. Those calls that bother you the most: the drownings of an infant, going into someone's home who has no food, or electricity, hearing the screaming of a family member as you perform CPR on their loved one, and many more. Unfortunately, those incidents are going to occur over and over during a career. The goal is to have coping mechanisms, a skill to pull out your mental health toolbox and put into place immediately when those memories start to negatively affect your mental health."
- Lt. Kenny Mitchell Jr, Operation Yellow Tape