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Tag: family mental health

Bleeding on Social Media

Join Myself and Kristin Walker, CEO of Mental Health News Radio, as we discuss a very personal and damaging problem that our world is enmeshed in. We are talking about bleeding all over social media with our need to be heard. We discuss the devastating effects of it with very real and personal stories. We then discuss ways to combat this problem You don’t want to miss this!!

Empty Your Glass

Join Idao Firefighter/Medic Paul Watkins as we talk about self care and some interesting ideas he has on the subject. A truly great conversation that you won’t want to miss!! My name is Paul Watkins I was born in 1976 in Ontario,Oregon. I currently live in Meridian,Idaho a suburb of Boise Idaho. I grew up in New Plymouth Idaho, a small farming community of about 1500 residents.Thats where I started my love for being a first responder. It was a small all volunteer fire dept. I tried starting when I was 17 but for insurance purposes I could not start until I was 18. which is july 6 so needless to say I had to hear the sirens leaving the station for about 2 months after graduating from high school. Getting my pager was the high light of the summer, then the first set of tones go out and I was hooked. So from the day I turned 18 to now I have been a first responder. I was entirely fire until I became an emt in 2007. So I moved to Donnelly,Idaho a small town in valley conty Idaho its about 95 miles from Meridian. I was on the combination department there and and thats where I started to push myself to becoming a paramedic.
The journey to where I am today was not at all easy, am also a journeyman electrician as I am still to this day. My family was and still are alcoholics and that was a way of life, I never partook in the alcoholic lifestyle until I got divorced in 2001. Then it slowly starts to creep in. All my life growing up with divorced parents and living with my father who was an alcoholic I convinced myself I was never going to be an alcoholic.
I started my first resonder career in 1994 and thats the era suck it up butter cup, if the fire is to hot get out, thats the stigma we lived by and most places today are still the same way. That is the most unhealthy way to look at thing. But that was not always my point of view I was that mindset I lived by it Not a good idea. Im advancing through my career, so I decided it was a good idea to try and run an electrical company and work as a fire medic at the same time, I got married a second time and was telling myself i was good I am fine, well that was not true at all. Those words are not allowed at my current station I will explain that on the show.
Stress of the business sets in and the stress and let downs of being a first responder start to set in. I start to drink a beer or so a day knowing I will never be an addict or an alcoholic. a year and a half goes by and I am in the valley county courthouse getting my second divorce, drinking starts to get heavier,but yet again I can handle it for I am fine Im good again lies we tell ourselves. so years go by no big changes except drinking has become my way of letting go,but yet Im not an alcoholic so I tell myself, and no way am I going to ask for help thats a weakness. (another lie). So I decide to just work as an electrican part time and decided to work at two fire depts. only having about 12 hours off between the two terrible idea.I hung on for 6 months until I broke one day and did not make it to shift, and was suspended for not going throught the proper channels. so I quit the one dept. on the spot and had put 9 years ofmy life into that dept. thinking thats where I would retire, well that was not going to happen. The dept. I work at now and the one I quit is about 12 miles apart.
Well things got worse because the reason I missed shift is because there was a death on every shift and other traumatic calls and they just stacked up and not knowing it then but my glass was full and over flowing and the one person you think would have your back did not Donnelly fire chief, he would always say his fire fighters health was his main concern, well he forgot the mental heath aspect. Drinking got worse and I could trust no one. Well then I get married the third time this time there is 3 children involved all girls and two living at home 13 and 15, still married today. will be 4 years may 29th.
I got to the point where I was drinking very heavily after shift after work pretty much anytime i was at home. I would go to the store and and swing by the bar for a beer or two or so, But yet I can control it, I was in control well I thought. The mental aspect of life, marriage, electrical work,and paramedicine was beginning to get heavy. I had been pushing mental health for a couple years at this time but looking back I know why God did not heal me at this time was because I needed to learn. Well one day two years ago may 23 I was at my local water hole and my wife stopped by and had a drink with me but I had been there a couple hours prior so I was in about 4 drinks beer and 1 Shot of whiskey. So we decided to leave she was in front of me and She took off and I pulled out behind her and looked in my mirror and sawthe red and blue lights behind me. So I pulled over at my local gas station I frequent every day,and started the road side olympics and of course I failed,only for the moment not knowing this was actually goiong to be a trimph.
So I refused to blow and they never drew blood so we never knew my blood alcohol content. Bt I was not blitzed even my wife siad she had seen me alot worse and drive not cool. well I was arrested of course and was released at midnight bailed out and had to be on shift at 8 am I live an hour and 40 minutes from the station so I got about 3 hours of sleep hung over and very tired ashamed all emotions. well about 1 oclock my ems boss comes and wakes me up and says do you have something to tell us. Talk about absolute utter ashamed and felt like a failure, I could have given up but I was going to beat this. well I lost my license, did not lose my job but did lose my job as an electrician, no loss actually.
No jail time just community service and all the fines involved. But I did thank the arresting officer and told him I needed this because I was an alcoholic, my wife called me an addict once and I got so enraged I wa going to divorce her. Well I have not touched alcohol for two years and have no desire.
What I did learn through all this is there was never anybody there for me I felt alone empty.,broken. Well now my mission is to get the word out there that there is help and hope I am trying to shift the norm to get help ask that its not a weakness. So at the station I have started the mental well being movement to train people to ask for help non judgemental we are there for each other we have to build that mindset up. So i am working on my chaplaincy for responders and I started the how is your glass today. I can go over that on the show if you woukd like. My goal is to see our people retire happy healthy. There is millions of dollars every year spent on cancer and ppe and all the drugs, not one fire or ems conference around here has classes on mental well being and I am going to try and change that any way I can.

The Power in Stepping Back

Working in the Mental Health Advocacy world certainly comes with its challenges. I had to take a month hiatus for my own mental health and we will have a very raw and transparent discussion about it. I am so glad to have been joined by Kristin Walker, CEO of The Mental Health News Radio Network join me for my return to the microphone discussion. You won’t want to miss ths!!

Food and Mental Health with Danny Mills

Join Health Coach and Flight Paramedic Danny Mills and I as we discuss how what we eat truly affects how we feel and think. My own first hand , tried experience since the new year began has proven these thoughts to be true. The bets part is what we can do about them to gain an edge. Daniel M. Mills is a seasoned 16-year veteran in fire and EMS in Alabama. He is married to his best friend and a father of 2, Brynleigh and Aaron. Daniel was a professional firefighter for over 12 years before leaving the fire service to fly full time as a flight paramedic. He has been a critical care flight paramedic for over 6 years now, as well as a trauma/neuro researcher. He is a veteran of the US Navy where he served as a Fleet Marine Force Corpsman with the United States Marine Corp for 8 years. Daniel has overseas time to the Middle East, Africa and Spain. He has been an educator now for over 10 years. He currently flies full time and runs the 911 Buddy Check Project. Daniel is also a recovering addict from a 15 plus year addiction problem.

Sean Fogler- Addicted Doctor

Join my former anesthesiologist Sean Fogler and I as we discuss 9/11, PTSD, Medical School, Cocaine, and Felonies. All part of his journey.Sean Fogler is a physician in long-term recovery, mental health and
addiction advocate, peer recovery mentor and healthcare entrepreneur.
Sean was at the World Trade Centers during the September 11 th attacks
and developed PTSD. He used addictive substances and behaviors to
manage his disease, ultimately leading to his conviction of a drug offense
— and loss of his medical license. Now in long term recovery, Sean
advocates for and mentors those that struggle. He uses his experience to
educate, inform and reduce the shame and stigma that keep addiction alive
— especially within the medical community. Sean writes regularly about his
experience to give hope and promote healing in others and himself. He
currently advises a number of healthcare technology companies, one of
which is Reachout – My Support Network, an application that provides
support to those struggling with mental health challenges and other
diseases. Sean is active within the Philadelphia recovery and physician
recovery communities. He has recently begun working with the
Pennsylvania Harm Reduction Coalition and Lawyers Concerned For
Lawyers. He is currently working on a book centered on his experience and
the science of addiction.

PTSD Bunker Gear for the Brain

Join Firefighter/Podcaster Carl Waggett and I discuss PTSD Bunker Gear for the Brain and his extremely unique take on Mental Health Stigma. One of the most eye opening episodes we have had yet!!My Name is Carl Waggett I’m 43, and I’ve been a full-time firefighter for the past 15 years as well as an Acting Captain for 4 of them. Separated with two children, the 3 of us connected to a 911 fire dispatcher and her two kids. After a close co-worker of mine had ended his life, I removed myself from the front line trucks only to diagnosed with PTSD a short time after. I am learning there are many sides to this brilliant disorder. I simply would like to share my experiences in hopes that others understand that PTSD is more of a winnable battle then you think. I do this buy releasing 3 podcasts a week as well as doing a FB LIVE 3 times a week
Places you can hear my message:
You can also find us on I tunes under PTSD Bunker Gear For Your Brain

Ryan Gallik- Silent Mayday

Join retired FF/Paramedic and now author and consultant Ryan Gallik as we discuss resiliency, mental health, and his new book Silent Mayday.Ryan Gallik is an award-winning international speaker and trainer who works with emergency services organizations to build high-performing occupational safety, health and wellness programs.
As a firefighter, EMT, paramedic, and EMS instructor who has served Central Florida for more than 17 years, Ryan Gallik understands what it takes to create effective safety programs. He has the hands-on experience combined with years of study that allow him to take the best theories and show emergency service providers, managers, and profess-ional safety practitioners how they can realistically incorporate new safety standards.
In 2016 Ryan cofounded the Florida Firefighter Safety and Health Collaborative to provide education & training so we can minimize the risks of exposure & death to our Firefighters. This program is now crossing many States and impacting thousands of Firefighters, Fire Departments and the Fire Service as a whole. Through his role as President of Ryan Gallik & Associates, Ryan has provided consulting and training for emergency services personnel and their vendors.
Ryan has been recognized as State of Florida Fire Service Instructor of the Year (2017) and State of Florida Firefighter of the Year (2016), and has had the honor of serving as a family escort during National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend (2014, 2015).
You can learn more about Ryan and Ryan Gallik & Associates by visiting

Stigma, Narcan Fatigue, and More

Join former NJ FF/EMT George Evans and I as we talk about his story and a topic very near and dear to my heart. Something needs to change.
Born in Trenton, NJ; raised by two public servants. Growing up I had ambitions of following in the footsteps of my father and grandfather by becoming a Fire Chief one day. Today I am an ex Firefighter/ EMT who is a grateful recovering addict. My current ambitions are to bring awareness to addiction, PTSD and show others that they to can survive and move forward in their lives just by using their voice.

Dan Sundahl First Responder Art

Join the amazingly talented artist and firefighter/meidc Dan Sundahl and I as we discuss the world renowned artwork he creates for first responders. He talks about what got him started doing this work and how it has truly become viral around the world, cathced the spirit behind a first responder, and the healing that it can do for people.

Daniel Sundahl (DanSun) is a published artist and writer and has two art books produced of his works. Articles of his work have been featured in Canadian Paramedicine, Journal of Emergency Medicine (JEMS), Fire Rescue Magazine, EMS One, EMS World Magazine and The Canadian Journal of Emergency Nursing. His art is recognized worldwide and he travels internationally speaking on his art and personal experiences with occupational stress injuries. He’s an advanced care paramedic, firefighter, pre hospital educator, professional public speaker, photographer and photo editor.

Daniel was born in 1967 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Taking up a global residency as an English language teacher in Egypt, Mexico, Indonesia and Japan, he is now a firefighter and advanced care paramedic for the City of Leduc.

His love of photography began on his travels, and as his technique developed, he started to produce a blend of photography and graphic art, which he calls Photo Art.

The majority of Daniel’s work involves emergency services photography. It involves an emotional connection to the artist as most of his pieces are based on actual emergency calls he has attended as a paramedic and firefighter. He’s passionate about reducing the stigma of PTSD for first responders and he uses his art to raise awareness of occupational stress injuries worldwide.

Daniel enjoys combining the technical and artistic elements of his work. Each piece can take several days or weeks of processing until he feels it’s ready. He continues to travel often and gains inspiration for his art from his experiences.

Jon Sanders- The Fire Within

Join fellow podcaster Jon Sanders and I as we discuss making a difference beyond “the job.” on Sanders is a firefighter/EMT with Sioux Falls Fire Rescue in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He serves as a member of SFFR’s Peer Support and Chaplain’s Teams. Jon is the host of The Fire Inside Podcast, a weekly show dedicated to the mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing of the first responder community. Jon also serves as the Lead Pastor of The RESCUE Church, a non-denominational church with multiple locations in rural communities in South Dakota, Illinois, and Jamaica. He has been married to his wife Jessica for 22 years.


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    8639 Carolina Blvd, STE 159
    Clyde, NC  28721

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    8639 Carolina Blvd, STE 159
    Clyde, NC  28721

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