Paramedic and Public Information Officer
Five years ago in May 2016 a group of intrepid cyclists and support crews decided to take their message on the road “No One Should Suffer In Silence”. On May 7, 2016 they rode bicycles from Ottawa, ON to Washington, DC (“The Capital-to-Capital Mental Health Campaign and Ride”). It took 14 days for riders to cover 1,000 miles\ 1,600 kms. At many steps along that two-week journey First Responders of all stripes met these riders at their stations, firehouses, headquarters. They had conversations in an effort to break down the stigma associated with mental health, PTSD and suicide.
Five years later and after rebranding to the new First Responders Are Human these First Responders from Canada and USA are setting out on a new adventure. Between May 3-16, 2021 (and considering pandemic restrictions) they are hosting another sort of mental health campaign dubbed #MovementIsMedicine. They endeavour to be more inclusive.
First Responders, friends, coworkers and family are encouraged to register (at no cost) and be active in their own locale and to be interactive virtually with fellow participants in Canada and USA. Participants can hike, walk their dog, run, paddleboard, kayak, do yoga, stretch, they can even ride a bike.
This campaign is promoting a different resiliency skill each day. Psychotherapist, Parul Shah currently doing her PhD is leading the education piece about self-care. Participants are encouraged to try each resiliency skill and post and blog about it.
This campaign begins May 3, 2021. It coincides with the Canadian Mental Health Association Mental Health week and American Hospital Association Mental Health month.
For more information on how to register and be involved go to www.firstrespondersarehuman.com
The goal is to continue to engage First Responders all over (there are no borders) to promote #mentalhealthmatters and to support each other. Being a First Response professional is honourable. These Responders give unconditionally to strangers in need; along the way they too have to find ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
#FirstRespondersAreHuman hopes through its new website, various platforms, and shared goals (camaraderie) it will assist First Responders discover ways and means to lead their own self-care and a healthy lifestyle.