Updated: Apr 10
April 14, 2020
With the focus on doctors and nurses possibly being exposed to COVID 19 while treating patients, which is certainly justified, I think the sacrifice of first responders is sometimes overlooked. First responders are the front line in this war against this insidious disease, and they have borne the heavy burden of contracting the disease and dying in the greatest number. If you check out our Facebook page, @peacekeeperinitiative, you can see the number of our heroes dying from exposure to this disease. NYPD is bearing an exceptionally high burden. Not only are many succumbing to the effects of this disease, but many others are in quarantine due to possible exposure or having symptoms. This creates an extraordinary burden on the remaining first responders who must work even longer hours due to the shortage that's been created. Exhaustion and stress also weaken your immune system making you more susceptible to getting sick.
I just wanted to take the time to thank all of you who are on the front lines helping those in need like you always do. Don't forget to engage in self-care and take care of your bodies. Eat healthy foods, take vitamins, and exercise. At least it gives your immune system a fighting chance to fend off this disease, especially since you can't really socially distance yourself and do your job. I hope your departments are providing PPE for you in an adequate amount. Seeing your brothers and sisters in uniform die because of this also creates traumatic mental stress. Don't neglect your mental and spiritual well-being. Talk through your losses and the mental health effects of this stressful time with a counselor or peer mentor, and don't forget to pray if you believe in God. When things get tough, that's the time to draw closer to Him and not push him away. He's often the only sense of security we have in uncertain times. Just because you can't go to church right now doesn't mean you can't pray or read scripture. It doesn't mean you can't watch services online. Please don't neglect the mental and spiritual aspects of your health. They are all too often underrated in their importance.
Organizations like ours that focus on PTSD resources, suicide prevention, and peer mentoring activities outside of the workplace can assist in dealing with the stress caused by the job, especially given the current climate. Please don't hesitate to reach out to someone if you need help. The only shame is not trying to prevent your own suffering.
Stay safe and God Bless,