OC87 Recovery Diaries is proud to present the first of our new three-part series with first responders entitled “Beneath the Vest: Conversations about Mental Health.” The series was created to address the mental health challenges encountered by the first responder community. As in other parts of our society, first responders face a culture of stigmatization and discrimination, which may be keeping people from getting the help they need.
Many thanks are due to Detective Rob Davis of the Abington Police Department in Abington, PA. Rob’s candid discussion about his journey as a police officer who lives with trauma and PTSD are an invaluable contribution to the conversation surrounding mental health and public service. Rob uses his recovery story to help other officers who have similar symptoms. “I’m not a big public speaker. But in this case, I don’t mind sharing,” Davis says. “For me, it is therapy in itself . . . To be able to tell somebody that it is possible to get through this. That’s the story that I want to share.”
First responders in the United States and around the world see things that no human being should ever have to see. In order to perform their challenging job, they often shelve their own emotions and experiences in order to “remain strong” for their colleagues, their victims, and their families. Rob Davis reminds us all that, whether we are part of the first responder community or not, speaking up about what is going on inside of you is an act of bravery. Shame, embarrassment, and fear live within each and every one of us, but it is imperative that we, like Rob, confront that discomfort and anxiety and give voice to our suffering.
Please enjoy this first installment of our film series, “Beneath the Vest: Conversations about Mental Health.”