Screw all of you now I see exactly why the only thing left to do is suicide. — a Facebook post by a St. Louis paramedic in April
After Kurt Becker, a paramedic firefighter in St. Louis County, saw that post, which included a profanity-laced screed of frustration and despair over the job, he sent a copy to the man’s therapist with a note saying, “You need to check this out.”
“I’m reading this, and I’m ticking off each comment with, ‘stress marker,’ ‘stress marker,’ ‘stress marker,’ ” said Mr. Becker, who manages a 300-person union district. (The writer is in treatment and gave permission for the post to be quoted.)
The paramedics are part of a “warrior culture,” Mr. Becker said, which sees itself as a tough, invulnerable caste. Asking for help, admitting fear, is not part of their self-image.
Mr. Becker, 48, is himself the grandson of a bomber pilot and son of a Vietnam veteran. But his local has been hit by a dozen suicides since 2004, and he has become an advocate for the mental health of its members. To maintain his equilibrium, he works out and sees a therapist.
“We got a letter from our chief saying there’s a national shortage of gloves, gowns, masks & goggles because the public is taking them,” said Brendan, a paramedic firefighter. “Then we walk into Walmart & see 90% of people have better masks than we do.”https://t.co/G3rurnr51U
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) May 17, 2020