One day we were having a beverage with a guy we know. All of us are first responders so naturally the conversation turned toward the job and how it can affect you mentally and physically.
Our profession is very good at supporting our brothers and sisters in times of crisis. We see fundraisers, benefits, memorials and every other form of helping others.
Eventually we all return to our day-to-day lives, which means we sometimes forget the trauma still remains for those we were supporting. We need to get better at long-term support.
When a critical incident happens, how can anyone forget? The mistake we make is once time moves forward we fall back into our day-to-day routines. We still think about the first responder and family but we begin to tell ourselves they must be okay since they seem to be adjusting to the new normal.
Soon for that first responder and family, the phone calls, texts and visits slowly dwindle to hardly any contact at all. Even though we still are thinking about them we fail to take the extra step and let them know. Our promises of being there for them are broken.
How many times have heard the following statements others say or we, ourselves, have said after the fact?
“I was going to call on my next day off.”
“I thought everything was okay. I didn’t want to bother.”
“I saw him or her every day. I didn’t know how bad it was.” “Why doesn’t anyone call us anymore?”
“Has everyone forgotten?”
One recent trend we see on social media have been challenge videos. We have a different challenge for our First Responder Community.
Our challenge is called “Just 1 Contact.”
We challenge our First Responder Community to reach out and contact someone you know who is struggling. Let them know you’re there for them and their families. Just 1 Contact can mean all the difference in the world to someone. This challenge doesn’t just mean reaching out to those in crisis. If you are the one in crisis please reach out and make that contact yourself. If someone is on your mind then it’s time to reestablish the line of communication. Who doesn’t feel good when they hear someone let them know they are still part of their life?
So please join us with this simple challenge. We can all do better. Reach out and make Just 1 Contact.
Be safe and it’s all about Living, Loving and Caring.
Cathy and Javier Bustos are law enforcement officers in Central Texas. As “That Peer Support Couple, LLC” they are strong peer support advocates speaking about surviving critical incidents and marriage. They can be reached by email: [email protected], their website: www.cathyandjavi.com Facebook, Instagram & Twitter.