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Your Oxygen Mask First
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Your Oxygen Mask First

Author: Unicorn Wellness

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On a plane, the flight attendants tell you to put on YOUR oxygen mask first before you help others; because you CAN’T help anyone unless you help yourself first!

This podcast is for public safety professionals or anyone who cares for others in high-stress environments. We are focused on helping us all live the best life possible.

Please join us as we delve into the depths of mental health, physical health and fitness, wellness, professional development, and improving relationships, and maybe have a little fun in the process. Support this podcast:
49 Episodes
Talking about bias and discrimination can be difficult, but it is necessary conversation... especially for first responders.  In this episode, we talk with Dr. Kimberly Miller about her upcoming intensive course that is a no-blame, no-shame look at racism, privilege, implicit bias and ethics and is filled with tools, resources, and strategies on how you can heal relationships in your community, and establish trust and legitimacy. To learn more about Dr. Kimberly Miller or her classes, visit or contact her at:  Website: email: Linkedin: Facebook: --- Support this podcast:
We are facing uncertain times with information changing by the minute.  How is a first responder or hospital/EMS worker supposed to cope in the face of the COVID-19 crisis?  In this raw and unedited episode (recorded in a firehouse...don't worry, we didn't touch anything), we sit down with Dr. Steve Nicholas, who is a trauma-informed clinician who works with first responders and Northern Nevada Peer Support Network President Derek Reid to discuss how to navigate this uncharted territory and how to show up for work and at home with a sense of purpose. We discuss anxiety, "spinning", and the danger of isolation and what you can do to find connection in the absence of physical connection.  We all hope this helps! --- Support this podcast:
As first responders and caretakers, we fall under some pretty heavy expectations.  But sometimes we fail to realize that we are human and not immune to making mistakes. In this episode, we sit down with the lovely Tami Burns.  Tami is an experienced R.N. who found herself addicted to pain pills after being prescribed opioids after getting hurt.  Tami tried to get help but wasn't able to get the support she needed in time before things took a turn for the worst.  But, Tami is resilient and found her way back to nursing after treatment and a little help from her nursing peers. Tami is a spunky and warm person with a true heart of gold who tells us about her life as a helper and is very open, honest, and authentic with her journey.  She finally realized she is not alone, and neither are you.  Please listen to her story with an open mind and compassion. Thank you Tami for choosing US to help you tell your story! --- Support this podcast:
Warning: this episode contains discussion surrounding sexual assault and does go into some detail on the specific acts. Also, adult language and humor warning. Although sexual assault is starting to become a topic that can be discussed, some survivors are still terrified to tell their stories. Meet Athena Ives; she is a Combat Marine Veteran, author, speaker, doctoral candidate, and a survivor. After being sexually abused as a child by a family member, Athena was also sexually assaulted - twice - while in the military.  While her story may be difficult to hear, it also needs to be heard. And she tells it so beautifully, coming from a place of strength and trying to help others in the process. With her story, she talks about how others can help survivors and how we need to build a culture of listening without judgement. Athena Ives: Book - Thank you for Raping Me: A Marine's story of Resilience and Hope: Website: Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) - Vet Together:  Website: Facebook: Greater Veterans Spokane Facebook: The Saluting Marine Website: Veterans for Natural Rights Website: The Barracks Facebook: Leave No Paws Behind USA Facebook: The Kirstie Ennis Foundation Facebook: --- Support this podcast:
Our mantra is "you can't help others until you help yourself".  And that is exactly what our guest Michelle Dutro is teaching those with PTSD at her retreat for Veterans and First Responders called Inner North Star.   Michelle is an Air Force Veteran, firefighter/EMT, and mental health clinician.  In this episode, she explains why the decision to CHOOSE to be in the best mental health state possible is so important; for not only healing, but continuing to grow in your role in providing help to others in your own life.  I highly enjoyed chatting with Michelle and she provides a no-nonsense philosophy to mental health! Inner North Star: Website: Facebook: Twitter: Instagram: --- Support this podcast:
Since it was erected in 1937, more than 1700 people are estimated to have jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge, and just 25 are known to have survived, according to Robert Olson of The Centre for Suicide Prevention in Calgary, Canada.  But one man has talked over 200 people from making that leap into the abyss. I am thrilled to be joined by Kevin Briggs; former CHP Trooper, Veteran and now author and speaker.  Kevin knows loss and trauma and uses his skills of empathy, understanding, and listening to help the hopeless take a step off the ledge and back to humanity. Pivotal Points:  Website: Facebook: Twitter: LinkedIn: Book: Guardian of the Golden Gate: Protecting the Line Between Hope and Despair by Kevin Briggs: --- Support this podcast:
There are many different ways to treat trauma floating around out there.   There is talk therapy, EMDR, exposure therapy, etc.  But did you know that storytelling is also an effective treatment for trauma and  PTS/PTSD? I am honored for the opportunity to sit down with former Green Beret, author, leadership expert, public speaker, and now  playwright and actor Scott Mann to learn more about how he is using  storytelling as a way to get Veterans the relief they need through his  new play "LAST OUT: Elegy of a Green Beret".  Scott Mann: Rooftop Leadership Website: Facebook: Twitter: Instagram: email: scott@rooftopleadership.con LAST OUT: Elegy of a Green Beret:  Facebook:  Website:  The Heroes Journey: The War of Art by Steven Pressfield:  --- Support this podcast:
Motherhood is tough enough, but imagine trying to navigate motherhood AND addiction at the same time.   The shame, the guilt...sometimes it can be too much to bear.  Add to that the trials and tribulations of being a military spouse, and then you have the perfect storm of trauma. Katie St. Pierre has experienced all of this.  And she has clawed her way out of addiction to teach others how to help themselves through telling her story.  In this episode, Katie tells us about the effect military life and addiction has on kids as well as the whole family and what it took to finally make sobriety "click" for her.  We love how she has overcome the shame and stigma to tell her story so bravely! Facebook: Instagram: Younique Shopping Page: --- Support this podcast:
May is Mental Health Awareness month and today we are excited to talk about first responder mental health with Dr. Stephanie Conn.  Stephanie has done it all; as a law enforcement child, to dispatcher, then police officer, mental health clinician, and now an author!  In her book "Increasing Resilience in Police and Emergency Personnel", Stephanie looks at real-world issues first responders face and gives us practical solutions to apply in our every day lives. Website: Book: Email:  --- Support this podcast:
Did you know there is over 120,000 homeless Veterans in America right now?  There are many organizations that are trying to help and get these military members the help they need, but we still have a long way to go. This is why we are exited to sit down with the President and CEO of Veterans Village San Diego Kimberly Mitchell today. VVSD serves over 2000 veterans every year with supportive services, mental health treatment, substance abuse treatment, job training, case management and assistance into permanent housing. Kimberly has an amazing story of how she became an orphan during the Vietnam War as an infant, and how being adopted by an American soldier led to her life of service and how she is helping Veterans every day. Veterans Village San Diego: --- Support this podcast:
"Imagine listening...your worst day is my everyday."  Not only is this the reality of a 9-1-1 or emergency dispatcher, but it is also the theme of a project former 9-1-1 dispatcher and public safety advocate Ricardo Martinez dedicates his life to.  Ricardo is the father of the #IAM911 movement and helps dispatchers tell their stories through his podcast, "Within the Trenches."  Ricardo is using his podcast to help dispatchers heal from trauma and also educates the public about the reality of 9-1-1. We are honored and excited to kick off National Public Safety Telecommunicator Week chatting with Ricardo about his podcast, the #IAM911 movement, as well as the effort to reclassify public safety dispatchers into a "protective" occupation called the #911SAVES act. Within The Trenches: APCO (Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials): 9-1-1 SAVES Act: NENA (National Emergency Number Association): IAED (International Academies of Emergency Dispatch): --- Support this podcast:
Marriage can be challenging but imagine having to try to keep a marriage together when one partner is suffering from PTSD.  Today, we talk to the Mighty Oaks Foundation founders Chad and Kathy Robichaux about how they were one step away from divorce, Chad was one second away from death by suicide, and Kathy almost lost her faith.  In their raw and emotional interview, they tell us how they were able to save their marriage and forgive each other while building this amazing organization that now helps hundreds of Veterans, military spouses, and first responders heal and find themselves again. Website: The Power of a Praying Wife Book: --- Support this podcast:
The life of a 9-1-1 dispatcher is filled with the highest of highs...and the lowest of lows.  99% of the people a dispatcher deals with are not having the best day; maybe even having the worst day of their lives.  And yes, there are the times a dispatcher saves the day; but those accomplishments rarely take away the heartache and trauma they experience every day.  Throw shift work, poor eating habits, lack of exercise on top of all that, and you have a ticking timebomb. That is why we are honored to sit down with John Marshall, author of "The Resilient 9-1-1 Professional", as well as one of his co-authors and EMDR expert Sara Gilman.  Together, they outline some tips and tricks from the book that 9-1-1 professionals can use to put their OWN oxygen mask on first!  And don't forget April 14-20, 2019 is National Public Safety Telecommunicator Week (aka "Dispatch Week"), so make sure to show your gratitude to your local dispatchers and telecommunicators!  Coffee and chocolate are always good choices... 911 Training Institute Website: Facebook: The Resilient 911 Professional Book:  Coherence Associates Inc. Website: Facebook: EMDR International Association (EMDRIA): National Public Safety Telecommunicator Week: --- Support this podcast:
No one ever pictures themselves becoming homeless, but that is a reality many Veterans are facing.  Help is out there but can be hard to get if you don't know where to look.  In this episode, we sit down with Michael Johnson, a U.S. Marine Corps Veteran who was homeless himself and is now using his experience to help others get off the streets and find meaningful employment. Has Heart: Courage to Call: 2-1-1 San Diego: --- Support this podcast:
What happens when Veterans transition from military life to civilian life with limited or no support, or access to resources?  They may find themselves in financial distress, experience family problems, and can even slip into depression...or worse, take their own lives.  In this episode, we sit down with CEO and Founder of Victor Tech Gregory Jumes to explore how his app Victor can help thousands of Veterans in the Chicago area live their best lives. Victor Tech, Inc.: Facebook: Instagram: Twitte: --- Support this podcast:
Did you know that there are organizations out there that offer holistic healing treatments for Veterans who are suffering from physical as well as mental health challenges?  In this episode, we talk to Eva M. Belanger, a decorated captain of the U.S. Air Force, with over nine years of service and wartime deployment. She currently serves as a fully licensed marriage and family therapist out of her own private practice in San Diego and is the co-founder and executive director of the non-profit Warriors Live On. Warriors Live On: Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute: Organic Intelligence: San Diego Veterans Coalition: San Diego Woman Veterans Network: --- Support this podcast:
Some people find themselves drawn to a life of public service after being exposed to an emergency situation in their personal lives.  In this episode, we talk to new EMT Andrew Gross and discuss how Andrew is channeling his traumatic experience as a patient at a young age into his love for treating others in emergency medical situations. --- Support this podcast:
Sabrina Barella is using her experience as a former military wife to be an active voice in many military non-profits.  She is also making it her mission to help end Veteran suicide by using her personal time and her business to help Veterans and their families.  In this episode, Sabrina explains how anyone (civilians included) can help be a safe ear to Veterans and maybe help save a life in the process. Understand Men and Women: Alison Armstrong - The Saluting Marine: Veterans For Child Rescue: The Victor App: (look for our podcast with the Victor App Founder in February 2019!) Irreverent Warriors: Vet TV: --- Support this podcast:
Did you know there are clinicians that specifically specialize in studying suicide and how to prevent it?  I didn't!  In this episode, I sit down with Suicidologist Dr. Blaire Schembari to learn more about her unique profession and some of the amazing studies and efforts underway to help prevent this epidemic. National Crisis Hotline 1-800-273-8255 (Veterans press 1 at the menu) American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) American Association of Suicidology: BeFrienders: 211: SAMSA: Make the Connection: --- Support this podcast:
New Year, New You?  If you are ready to set some health and wellness goals, listen up!  In this episode, we are super excited to chat with the one and only Officer Ashley Smith!  Not only is she a badass female police officer, but she is also a health and fitness dynamo and works every day to help others...whether it's on the beat or in everyday life fitness.   We also talk about the stigma surrounding being a social media queen as well as the challenges she has endured working her way up through a male-dominated profession.  You will love hearing her authentic and direct words of wisdom...and she is pretty hilarious too.  --- Support this podcast:
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