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Mental health and first responders

Last Modified: May 23, 2024

People of Parkview, Healthy Mind


Both Mental Health Awareness Month and National EMS Week fall in May, making it the perfect time to address how the two fields are intimately connected. Kevin Castetter, RN, BSN, CFRN, CEN, Samaritan nurse, shared his thoughts on the importance of minimizing the stigma around and giving more care to the emotional well-being of our first responders.

Conversations about mental health are more mainstream today, and rightfully so. They should be. The stuff that you see and go through, if you're not processing that appropriately, or you don't have the help or resources, it doesn't matter who you are, you can't continue to sustain that and do your job at the highest level.

It is cumulative in nature. That’s part of the reason we do what we do, you never know what you're going to walk into. It’s good to be aware of that and realize it’s one big family, not just at our base, but within EMS in general. You should be able to come in and sit down with people who understand what you're going through and talk to them. It’s valuable having them aware not only of what's going on in my life but also what type of transports I'm on. And it’s just as valuable for me to do the same for my co-workers and crew. Just asking and being open and honest and transparent is huge.

We need to ask each other if we need to talk through things. And then if it gets to the point where you're not processing a situation, there are plenty of resources, whether it's counseling or EAP or talking to someone else. It can help get the stress off your back so that  you can function fully in your role.

Within our personal lives, we're still moms, we're still dads, we're still sons. So, whether it's exercise or hobbies, you have to be able to get away from the job, especially when you come back knowing you may walk right back into a tough situation. You have to be able to handle that appropriately. Police, fire and EMS, we’re all working together to serve our community, and that’s very satisfying.

Need to talk?

Call the Parkview Behavioral Health Institute HelpLine at 260-471-9440 or toll-free at 800-284-8439 anytime, 24 hours a day. Our experienced specialists can answer your questions, provide recommendations and help arrange care.


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