Yourself, Your partner, everyone else, an EMT’s guide to mental health survival

put yourself first

Mental health issues are a struggle for both the people impacted, and the families that support them. They can be draining both financially and mentally. Many people lose hope. According to StatsCan, there were 11.5 suicides completed per 100,000 people in 2009, the last year I can find statistics on. I can only imagine that the number has climbed since, considering the economic down-turn that Canada has been in the last several years.

Despite what your brain tells you, though, suicide is not a realistic solution to one’s issues. When I am healthy, I can understand that. When I’m not healthy, the inside of my head is hell. My biggest fear is that one day I am going to slide, and my impulsiveness will be my undoing.

How can I minimize that risk though? The first thing I have to do is draw on some of the basic training I received when I did my EMT course years ago. I have to set my priorities. When approaching any incident scene, the number one priority is yourself, followed by your partner, and then your patient, because if anything happens to you or your partner, you, as a team, are no good to your patient.

How does that translate to mental health issues though? Ut translates by working on yourself. Setting yourself up to succeed, with the knowledge that set backs do happen. Physical fitness, therapy, hobbies, things to activate your mind, things to burn off energy, things to take your mind some place other than the darkness inside.

Something else to consider is who you surround yourself with. If you watch an interview with damn near every successful person, they tell you that they could not have gotten to where they were without the backing of the people surrounding them.  Just like your partner on ambulance can make or break your shift, who you surround yourself with while dealing with mental health issues can make or break things. If you seek out and associate with people who are struggling themselves, in all likelihood they will drag you down with them. If you surround yourself with people who are uplifting you, the lows, while still being painful, can be more easily managed.

It is NOT wrong to walk away from people who drag you down. Sometimes it is something that can be painful, but be the best decision you will ever make. Looking after yourself first is not wrong, and nothing to feel guilty about.

Yourself, your partner, and everyone else, to me those are the keys to survival, be it on the street, or in your own mind. Thanks for reading,




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: