If you don’t have anything nice to say, make pens?
While sitting at post today waiting for our next assignment I was scrolling through Facebook and happened upon a dark humor page I hadn’t seen before. Honestly, I have unfollowed or ignored a lot of these pages because I lose my mind, get sucked into arguments and just like recent political internet arguments- nothing changes. As the adage goes, if you argue with a fool we all know who LOOKS like a fool in the end.
While scrolling through the new, unnamed page I found this:
I get the gist of the joke. It’s not funny.
While we’re on the subject of jokes about suicide, that “it’s this way not that way.” That’s not funny either.
Dark humor and making fun of the most horrible things in the world are ways for EMS providers to keep their sanity when joked about in the right setting. Suicide is never one of those things.
What kind of atmosphere does that create for the provider that has been hedging on asking for help, but now feels like a joke because of an offhand comment? How we talk about and treat our patients demonstrates to our brothers and sisters how we might treat them.
Awareness and education on provider mental health and suicide are only a piece of addressing this problem. Each of us must commit to changing the culture of our service to allow the helpers to ask for help when they need it. These kinds of statements perpetrate the culture of silence and suicide in our industry. Open lines of communication begin when our brothers and sisters don’t feel judged before they open their mouths. Words are powerful- whether as weapons to tear down or tools to build up.
Most of us don’t even realize we are sending unintentional messages.
Be aware of the things you say and how you say them. The solution to helping the helpers begins with us.
IF YOU ARE THINKING OF SUICIDE:
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: (800) 273-TALK
National Hope Line Network: (800) SUICIDE
Safe Call Now (First Responder Specific): (206) 459-3020