TW – Graphic images, suicide
These powerful images are extremely important. As one woman mentions in the short video at the bottom of the page, it’s one thing to hear a statistic but it’s another to be faced with an image. I like that each veteran had choice over how they wanted their images to look. They are so full of emotion and truth, and I am honoured by their vulnerability and strength. I feel that this conversation is important not just for those serving in the armed forces, but for police, firefighters and other first responders, as well as survivors of all forms of abuse and other traumas. It is important to shed a light on PTSD and to support those suffering. Part of that starts with education and really listening when folks share their experiences.
Find all the photos and the mini documentary HERE
“Every officer reading this knows it’s true. But what do we do? Nothing. We are trained to have answers, to hide weakness, and to control situations. We are the ones who respond when help is needed. So we cover it up. We hide our emotions, gloss over the problems and hope we can ride it out. Any attempt to seek out help voluntarily results in a stigma and is essentially a career killer for us. If we end up having an emotional breakdown and are ordered off duty, we are marginalized and abandoned. We have witnessed this happen to friends and colleagues before us.”
Anonymous, but frank and honest. While this career is a choice, sometimes I feel made for personal fulfillment rather than a desire to serve and protect, it’s important to have supports in place because the reality of this experience when lived professionally is quite difficult. Like most people in dominant culture, there is a stigma that comes when officers seek help, when showing any ‘weakness’, when dealing with increased signs of mental illness. The solution is not to shame these individuals then put them in a crisis situation with a deadly weapon. We’re all human and deserve compassion and a chance at understanding.
What are your thoughts?
opinion piece – for Ian’s sake