Warning: this episode contains discussion surrounding sexual assault and does go into some detail on the specific acts. Also, adult language and humor warning.
Although sexual assault is starting to become a topic that can be discussed, some survivors are still terrified to tell their stories. Meet Athena Ives; she is a Combat Marine Veteran, author, speaker, doctoral candidate, and a survivor. After being sexually abused as a child by a family member, Athena was also sexually assaulted - twice - while in the military.
While her story may be difficult to hear, it also needs to be heard. And she tells it so beautifully, coming from a place of strength and trying to help others in the process. With her story, she talks about how others can help survivors and how we need to build a culture of listening without judgement.
Our mantra is "you can't help others until you help yourself". And that is exactly what our guest Michelle Dutro is teaching those with PTSD at her retreat for Veterans and First Responders called Inner North Star.
Michelle is an Air Force Veteran, firefighter/EMT, and mental health clinician. In this episode, she explains why the decision to CHOOSE to be in the best mental health state possible is so important; for not only healing, but continuing to grow in your role in providing help to others in your own life. I highly enjoyed chatting with Michelle and she provides a nonsense philosophy to mental health!
Since it was erected in 1937, more than 1700 people are estimated to have jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge, and just 25 are known to have survived, according to Robert Olson of The Centre for Suicide Prevention in Calgary, Canada. But one man has talked over 200 people from making that leap into the abyss.
I am thrilled to be joined by Kevin Briggs; former CHP Trooper, Veteran and now author and speaker. Kevin knows loss and trauma and uses his skills of empathy, understanding, and listening to help the hopeless take a step off the ledge and back to humanity.
There are many different ways to treat trauma floating around out there. There is talk therapy, EMDR, exposure therapy, etc. But did you know that storytelling is also an effective treatment for trauma and PTS/PTSD?
I am honored for the opportunity to sit down with former Green Beret, author, leadership expert, public speaker, and now playwright and actor Scott Mann to learn more about how he is using storytelling as a way to get Veterans the relief they need through his new play "LAST OUT: Elegy of a Green Beret".
Motherhood is tough enough, but imagine trying to navigate motherhood AND addiction at the same time. The shame, the guilt...sometimes it can be too much to bear. Add to that the trials and tribulations of being a military spouse, and then you have the perfect storm of trauma.
Katie St. Pierre has experienced all of this. And she has clawed her way out of addiction to teach others how to help themselves through telling her story. In this episode, Katie tells us about the effect military life and addiction has on kids as well as the whole family and what it took to finally make sobriety "click" for her. We love how she has overcome the shame and stigma to tell her story so bravely!
May is Mental Health Awareness month and today we are excited to talk about first responder mental health with Dr. Stephanie Conn. Stephanie has done it all; as a law enforcement child, to dispatcher, then police officer, mental health clinician, and now an author! In her book "Increasing Resilience in Police and Emergency Personnel", Stephanie looks at real-world issues first responders face and gives us practical solutions to apply in our every day lives.
Did you know there is over 120,000 homeless Veterans in America right now? There are many organizations that are trying to help and get these military members the help they need, but we still have a long way to go.
This is why we are exited to sit down with the President and CEO of Veterans Village San Diego Kimberly Mitchell today. VVSD serves over 2000 veterans every year with supportive services, mental health treatment, substance abuse treatment, job training, case management and assistance into permanent housing.
Kimberly has an amazing story of how she became an orphan during the Vietnam War as an infant, and how being adopted by an American soldier led to her life of service and how she is helping Veterans every day.
"Imagine listening...your worst day is my everyday." Not only is this the reality of a 9-1-1 or emergency dispatcher, but it is also the theme of a project former 9-1-1 dispatcher and public safety advocate Ricardo Martinez dedicates his life to. Ricardo is the father of the #IAM911 movement and helps dispatchers tell their stories through his podcast, "Within the Trenches." Ricardo is using his podcast to help dispatchers heal from trauma and also educates the public about the reality of 9-1-1.
We are honored and excited to kick off National Public Safety Telecommunicator Week chatting with Ricardo about his podcast, the #IAM911 movement, as well as the effort to reclassify public safety dispatchers into a "protective" occupation called the #911SAVES act.
Marriage can be challenging but imagine having to try to keep a marriage together when one partner is suffering from PTSD. Today, we talk to the Mighty Oaks Foundation founders Chad and Kathy Robichaux about how they were one step away from divorce, Chad was one second away from death by suicide, and Kathy almost lost her faith. In their raw and emotional interview, they tell us how they were able to save their marriage and forgive each other while building this amazing organization that now helps hundreds of Veterans, military spouses, and first responders heal and find themselves again.