When we’re in need of help, we call on first responders. But who do they call for help when they need it?
“If they don’t take care of themselves, that can’t take care of us, first of all,” says Clark Paris.
That’s a lesson that author and retired Las Vegas Police Department officer Clark Paris learned the hard way.
“And one of our favorite sayings is ‘it’s okay to not be okay,’ the help that’s out there really works,” says Paris.
Paris says he had been with the department for more than twenty years when he began to notice changes in almost every aspect of his life, and it all stemmed from the stress that built up from decades on the job.
Having a program in place to help first responders is only part of the solution to the problem. Interim Pittsburg Police Chief Brent Narges says the key is to change the culture of emergency personnel.
“Asking for help is not something we are typically comfortable with, we’re comfortable at all with doing that, we’re typically the ones helping other folks that are in the community and we find solutions for them so we need to but we need to understand as first responders that we need to, it’s okay to ask for that help,” says Brent Narges.
Paris has written two books on the subject, one for first responders, the other for children of them, as well as producing an award winning documentary film on police suicide.