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The Firefighter Deconstructed

Author: Christy Warren

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Christy Warren, PTSD Survivor and retired fire captain, digs into how the job can affect our mental and emotional health, the ensuing physical symptoms, and how to deal with it. Whether you’re just feeling crappy or have full-blown PTSD, or if you want to know the signs and how to help a brother or sister, we'll talk about it here. A part of Mental Health News Radio Network.
60 Episodes
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Ellen Kirschman, known as the Cop Doc, is a clinical psychologist that specializes in treating first responders and has been for doing for years and years and years. She is the author of “I Love a Cop” and the recently released second edition of “I Love a Firefighter”. Ellen talks about the specific mental health issues that Wildland firefighters and their families face. We also talk about the importance of seeing a culturally competent therapist and the reasons why. Ellen is a invaluable resource of knowledge and experience in taking care of first responders and our mental health. She is no nonsense and says, “The stigma is stupid!” Ellen also writes fiction and is a clinician at WCPR.
The amazing Josh Johnson, former firefighter, shares his story of getting PTSD and the agony of not knowing where to turn to for help. The point came where Josh’s only answer he could find was almost killing himself with alcohol. He went to work to ask for help and ended up getting fired. Josh truly is an inspiration as he went from trying to kill himself to the incredible attitude and viewpoint that he has now. His focus now is passing this message on to others so they don’t end up suffering a lone as he did for so long. Josh articulates his story very well. I have a good feeling we will hear from him again on this show.www.3forthelove.comjoshrjohnson81@yahoo.com
Tessa Dunn is on the show! Tessa is the wife of Tom Dunn, who was on the show a few months ago. She stood by Tom’s side as he worked as a Alaska State Trooper. She raised a couple of kids and took care of the family out in the middle of nowhere. When Tom became a State Trooper little did they know That Tessa would became part of the job and experience her own trauma plus helping Tom deal with his trauma. Her and Tom have started Reset Training and Consulting where they help first responders with stress on the job through training in Resiliency, Engaging and Empowering Communities, Soul Care, Employee Retention and Training. Tess is a positive force to be reckoned with! You can’t help but feel good after listening to Tess talk and share her story.www.resettrainingandconsulting.com
The Firefighter Deconstructed sits down with Conrad Weaver, an award winning filmmaker, producer and president of Conjo studios. Conrad is making a documentary film about us, about what first responders go through on the job and the price we pay for doing what we do. The film i scalled 911PTSD. He is traveling all over the united states recording our stories. His goal of the film is to create awareness and help smash the stigma around mental health for first responders. Near the end of the podcast Conrad and I talk about how he had to change careers and find a new purpose. He talks about how he did this and keeps his eyes on his purpose every day. I found it very inspiring. Where to find Conrad and film info: https://conjostudios.com/linktr.ee/ptsd911moviehttps://ptsd911movie.com/To Donate to the film: https://www.thefilmcollaborative.org/fiscalsponsorship/projects/ptsd911https://conjostudios.com/https://twitter.com/PTSD911Moviehttps://www.facebook.com/ptsd911movie
Paula Siddens is a retired Sergeant with the California Highway Patrol with 30 years of service. Paula sustained a serious Traumatic Brain Injury while riding her bike down Mt. Diablo. She was lucky to even survive the accident. Paula and I have also been friends for quite some time but it’s been a long time since we have seen each other.. We recently met up at a training session for the support dog training program, First Response K9. We started talking about my PTSD and her Traumatic Brain Injury. We found that so many of our symptoms were the same. Similar family issues and collateral damage also came up. On this episode we talk about Paula’s accident and the similarities of our journeys. This episode helps to demonstrate how PTSD/PTSI is a true physiological brain injury, not just some emotional problem.
The amazing Steve Serbic from the Undercover Mental Health Podcast sit down with me and tells us his story. Steve is a assistant fire chief, key note speaker, Tedx presenter, author and mental health advocate. Steve rose up through the fire service, and is currently working as an Assistant Chief of operations at Surrey Fire Service, Greater Vancouver Metropolitan Area in Canada. He prides himself on being a devoted husband and father of two amazing kids. He survived his battle with depression thanks to the support of his family and friends. That support allowed him to rebuild his life and now he helps others who have decided to fight their anxiety, depression and mental illness. Steve is very open and raw about his own battles with mental illness and travels across North America sharing his story.You can find Steve at:steveserbic.comYouTubeTed Talk: www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVBiGeA2lx4www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZVsSEWRBnQUndercover Mental Health Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/undercover-mental-health/id1490639378
Tim Grutzius is a 25+ year fire service veteran and a team member of the Illinois Firefighter Peer Support . He understands the detrimental effect stress can have on the overall wellbeing of our mind, body, and spirit. He is also a Certified Personal Trainer and Health Coach, he has a diploma in Holistic Health Practice, a certificate in Wellness Consulting and is a certified Usui Reiki Master Practitioner. Tim was diagnosed with PTSD and had a tough struggle out of it, but he is out of it. Now he works to help all those first responders who are struggling.Twitter: @holisticff @centannilifeIllinois Firefighter Peer Support https://www.ilffps.org/https://centannilife.com/what-is-reiki/https://centannilife.com/chakras-spinning-centers-that-express-our-vital-life-energy/timgrutzius@gmail.comhttps://youtu.be/E97l4Cjarpgwww.centannilife.comtimothygrutzius@centannilife.com
Tom and Tessa Dunn sit down with the firefighter deconstructed and talk about what it's like to work as a resident police officer in the middle of nowhere in Alaska. Tom Dunn is the founder of RESET Training and Consulting. He is a recently retired Lieutenant for the Alaska State Troopers (May 2020) who served the citizens of Alaska for over 25 years and is an FBI National Academy graduate of session 253. During his career, he worked in many communities with rural and urban community diversity. He is a certified instructor in several law enforcement disciplines and is a current Mental Health First Aid instructor who has provided instruction at the Alaska State Trooper Training Academy and all over the State of Alaska. Tessa Dunn is the co-founder of RESET Training and Consulting. The mission is to teach first responders and their families, new ways to cope with trauma and exhaustion in the workplace. RESET also partners with staff and families of special needs children. Tessa’s role in RESET will be co-teaching the workshops for spouses of first responders and educators. She is the event organizer and the biggest smile in the room.RESET Training and Consulting offers training in Resiliency, Engaging and Empowering Communities, Soul Care, Employee Retention and mental health Training. www.resettrainingandconsulting.comTom & Tessa Dunn907-299-6054907-315-4077resettrainandconsult@gmail.com
Eric Weaver is a retired sergeant with the Rochester, NY Police Dept., where he served for twenty years from 1985-2005. He was a police sergeant for the RPD for the last 13 years of his highly decorated career. Prior to his employment with the RPD, he served as a Corrections Officer from 1983-1985 with the Ontario County, NY Sheriff’s Department. While with the RPD, he served in numerous positions within the Department, including numerous patrol assignments, the Tactical Unit, the SWAT team, and Internal Affairs. Eric’s last assignment for the Rochester Police Department was as Mental Health Coordinator, and was the creator, developer, and Commanding Officer of the first Crisis Intervention Team in NYS. The CIT is a specialized unit within the RPD that responds to calls within the Rochester community for individuals who are experiencing a mental health crisis. He continues to serve as a consultant with numerous police departments and their respective communities in NYS in the creation, development, training, and implementation of similar Crisis Intervention Teams, and has served as a leading consultant for the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services and NYS Office of Mental Health in developing CIT training throughout New York State. Eric is a consultant with the National Council for Behavioral Health, and serves as a National Trainer for the internationally recognized Mental Health First Aid and Youth Mental Health First Aid programs. Eric served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Suicide Intervention Skills Trainer Consortium of New York, was a Depression and Bi-Polar Support Alliance’s (DBSA) group facilitator and a member of the DBSA National Speaker’s Bureau, and is currently a member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)-NYS Consumer Affairs Committee. He also serves as a Peer Review consultant for SpecPro Management Services, LLC regarding police mental health training on a state and federal level. Eric is also former pastor and served for several years as the Executive and Counseling Pastor of Crosswinds Wesleyan Church in Canandaigua, NY. Eric holds a certificate in Biblical Counseling from the American Association of Christian Counselors. Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/eric-weaver-overcomingthedarknessWebsite: www.overcomingthedarkness.com Email: eric@overcomingthedarkness.com
Kristi Tausinga sits down with the firefighter deconstructed and talks about being a female cop, getting addicted and then unaddicted to painkillers. This woman is one strong lady! She was diagnosed with PTSD and survived a suicide attempt. And on top of all that, she was totally abandoned by her administration. She was sexually assaulted at work by a supervisor and then was written up for engaging in sexual activities while at work. Her passion now is to reach out to those who are suffering and to spread the word that there is help and to smash the stigma - it’s actually courageous to ask for help!! Instagram: mile_marker_28Cell phone: 928.586.8375Safecall: www.safecallnowusa.org
THE Tom Satterly and his wife Jen sit down with the Firefighter Deconstructed. Who are these people? Well Tom spent 20 years in Delta Force, the most elite special forces unit there is. Tom is a legend even among other Tier One special operators. He was in the Battle of Mogadishu (Black Hawk Down) and the capturing of Saddam Hussein. He survived incredible feats of war but he almost didn't survive PTS. Who is Jen? The woman who stood by Tom and went through tough times helping Tom get to the other side. Now they both work non stop to help their brothers and sisters in the military and first responders who have PTS. Jen Satterly spent three years as Director of Film and Photography with an elite military company and was fully embedded in Special Operation training missions. She is the Co-Founder and Chief of Programs of their nonprofit, All Secure Foundation, and speaking alongside Tom about the challenges that spouses and families deal with both during deployment and coming home.Books: All Secure by Tom SatterlyArsenal of Hope: Tactics for Taking on PTSD, Together by Jen Satterlyhttps://allsecurefoundation.org/www.tomsatterly.com
Super kind and fun Scott Medlin sits down with The Firefighter Deconstructed and talks about the toll the job takes and strategies to get and be healthy. Scott has 17 years of experience in the military and law enforcement. Scott shares his own struggles with mental health and addiction from trauma experienced while in combat in Iraq and on the job as a police officer. He has authored two books about health in law enforcement. He has a passion to help others and help stop the stigma and stop first responder suicides. https://leomotivation.com/https://www.amazon.com/Scott-Medlin/e/B087QVZ26R?ref_=dbs_p_pbk_r00_abau_000000 Books: MENTAL HEALTH FIGHT OF THE HEROES IN BLUE and 101 HEALTH TIPS FOR POLICE OFFICERS.
Kaia Downing is married to Brad Downing, who was on last week. Kaia was a police officer for ten years and is now a parole officer. Kaia shares her story of being married to someone with PTSD. We discuss what it’s like raising children when your spouse is angry, irrational, and detached. Kaia has the unique understanding of what it’s like to be a police officer and be the spouse of one. This discussion is a very good one and I am sure many many spouses and families out there will relate and find that they are not alone. firefighterdeconstructed.comMovie: The Female Brain
Retired police officer Brad Downing was a long time “stuff it” guy and never talked about his feelings. He suffered in silence because of that stupid stigma that can be attached to someone when they ask for help. Brad talks about how stuffing it affected his job, his family and himself. He now works to smash that stigma and let others know it’s ok not to be ok. He has started up a first responder support meeting that provides a safe place for first responders to talk.
Rob Hindley is a Medically retired police officer from the United Kingdom. He went through PTSD twice and speaks to how getting PTSD the second time is even worse than the first time. Rob now works to prevent police suicide and promote police physical and medical wellbeing. He has started peer support groups. We talk about PTSD and the effects it can have on the kids. We also talk about the lack of leadership in this important area and how struggling officers are not being taken care of in all the aspects of a person’s life. He is writing a book highlighting the high price that police officers pay when serving the public.https://www.linkedin.com/in/rob-hindley-98796b13b/
Bill Pepitone, City of New York Mayoral Candidate and former New York Police Officer, sits down with The Firefighter Deconstructed and talks about the heavy toll police work takes on officers and their families. He is a big, strong, tough guy born and raised in the Bronx and HE says it’s ok to not be ok. He says it’s so important to ask for help before you get the point of suicide. If a long time police officer from New York says it’s not weak to be affected by the job and ask for help, then you know it’s ok to not be ok.https://billpepitonefornycmayor.com/www.facebook.com/Bill-Pepitone-for-NYC-Mayor-110127470736990/https://poppanewyork.org/
Former Dispatcher Ryan Dedmon sits down with the Firefighter Deconstructed and talks about his co-worker’s suicide and his own downward spiral. And most importantly, how he climbed back out of it. Ryan is a great speaker and has important information that will help all first responders. He now trains dispatchers and is the Outreach Director for the 9-1-1 Institute, The 9-1-1 institute works to bridge dispatchers with qualified local mental health professionals to be sure they get the help they need. The Institute now includes a team of experts who create uniquely qualified 911 education and consulting services to support the health and performance of our Very First Responders here in North America and abroad.https://www.911training.net/
Sue M, all the way from Ireland. Sue M is an extraordinary person. She served as a paramedic and then a police officer in the United Kingdom for 14 years and experienced PTSD and several personal hardships and now she devotes her life to helping others get help when they are hit with PTSD. She’s written a book, started a support network, and answers phone calls all day from first responders and their agencies needing help. It’s worth listening to just for the Irish accent. Hear her inspiring story and how she got to where she is now. Overcoming Trauma on the frontlines, by Sue M.Universal link: https://books2read.com/u/47lV68Carlisle Support Network - Email: csnmgtteam@gmail.comCarlisle Support Network Forum:Laptop or PC :https://forums.carlislesupportnetwork.netFor Phone App - search for DiscourseHub then add the following link and if given the option add it as homepage
Retired Police Officer, Christopher Hoyer is a protector, survivor and advocate for mental, physical and emotional wellness. After 20+ years as a street cop, having been faced with the worst horrors imaginable, he has turned his focus to sharing his story with others, helping the law enforcement community prepare for the trauma that comes with the job. He has spoken to thousands, including first responders, mental health professionals and various professional entities, sharing his story in hopes of saving lives. His book, When That Day Comes, was written to honor the memory of all fallen Law Enforcement Officers, one in particular, and to pass on what time on the street taught him about survival ... mental, physical and emotional.www.linkedin.com/in/chris-hoyer-25398192/www.facebook.com/lovenotes68/
Today we have Fire District Chief Jason Corthell. Another amazing guy from Texas. Jason is another guy who feel into that dark hole and found a way out. Then he built an incredible peer support team that he shares all over the country. This guy is a 4th generation firefighter and started his firefighting career as a volunteer with Cypress Creek Fire Department in 2004. Jason served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2006-2010. Chief Corthell serves as the wellness/fitness initiative director for his department as well as many works within the department’s public relation roles. Jason has a great passion and drive for progressing mental wellness in the fire service through both personal and professional battles and experiences. He has implemented and influenced many others in the pursuit of providing first responders the help that they need. This is a good listen for any department/organization looking to build or improve their peer support team. Chief Corthell also works part-time instructor at Lonestar College Fire Academy. The Corthell Family resides in Hockley, Texas where he is happily married with three children and enjoys woodworking, sports, traveling to breweries, and grilling. email: jason.corthell@hcesd13.org
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Comments (1)

Dan Gardiner

thank you for this episode. great story.

Jun 29th
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