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Choosing life: Paramedic uses music to help first responders access help




“Let’s redefine what it means to heal,” Canadian post-hardcore band Alexisonfire repeats in their song Accidents, its music video depicting paramedics responding to various emergencies in an unnamed city.

For Nicholas Hennink, an advance-care paramedic from South Africa who now works in Moose Jaw, Sask., music is his outlet for healing.

“There used to be this stigma — well there still is — that as a first responder you should just be tough enough,” Hennink said.

“You shouldn’t have these emotions. You should just deal with it.”

His career has spanned 16 years and counting. In that time, he has had his ups and downs, including a stint in a mental health ward in a rehabilitation facility after he turned to alcohol to deal with the shame he felt.

“A lot of times, we see things and we hear things that the average person shouldn’t be hearing or seeing in their lifetime,” he said.

The things Hennink has seen have caused him to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. He knows it’s difficult to reach out for help.

Nicholas Hennink chose a car crash as the setting for the music video for his song Warriors, because it’s a scenario where the fire department, police and EMS all respond and work as a team. (Nebulus Entertainment)

It’s why he started Project Warrior, which raises money for paramedics and other first responders who are seeking professional help. The money he raises is donated to Operational Stress Injuries Canada (OSI-CAN) to assist others.

OSI-CAN is a joint project of the Canadian Mental Health Association and the Royal Canadian Legion that provides programs such as peer support groups, psychotherapy and service dog acquisition to veterans and serving members of the armed forces, as well as to police and first responders.

Project Warrior involves Hennink making music, taking pictures of first responders and raising money through donations and the sale of merchandise — 100 per cent of which goes to OSI-CAN to help others seek professional help.

One such musical endeavour Hennink took on was the filming of a music video for an original song, Warriors, which he wrote and recorded with artist Jared Robinson of Nebulus Entertainment.

The video depicts actual first responders as they attend the scene of a crash. Hennink chose that scenario because it’s a situation where first responders, police, fire and EMS come together as a team to save lives.

It’s something that Steven Skoworodko keeps an eye on when paramedics in the Wakaw and District EMS get together for a critical incident stress debriefing after responding to a scene.

Skoworodko, an advanced-care paramedic and president of the Saskatchewan Emergency Medical Services Association, said one of the biggest barriers for accessing care is the lack of a dedicated mental health professional who can specifically address the needs of first responders. 

He said some of the things paramedics see in their work can become routine for them, but they’d never be routine for anyone else. It takes a toll.

Jared Robinson, of Nebulus Entertainment, captures the scene during the video shoot for Nicholas Hennink’s Warriors. (Nebulus Entertainment)

Skoworodko hasn’t felt the need to reach out for mental health help, but he noted that people cope in different ways. He has his family and Hennink has his music.

Paramedics and employers alike are becoming a lot more cognizant of the struggles first responders face, he said. It’s an issue that comes to centre stage when a first responder takes their own life.

According to a 2018 study which looked at more than 5,000 first responders in Canada, paramedics and corrections workers had the highest frequency of suicidal behaviour during the last year and within their lifetime.

Health authority creating strategy

A Saskatchewan Health Authority spokesperson says the health region knows EMS workers and volunteer medical first responders can be vulnerable to stress injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder. 

Mental health supports vary by employer, but EMS workers employed by the health authority can access family assistance, which includes free counselling for employees and their eligible dependants around the clock, according to Amanda Purcell. 

She said there is a review underway of the supports available to all EMS workers, with a goal of working toward a provincial strategy.

Hennink said for him, it was mental trauma that led him to drink, to finally seek help and to spend time in rehab.

“It led up to a point where I needed to make a choice, and the choice I made was to live,” Hennink said.

“I can honestly say that I am healthier today than I was before.”

If you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts or having a mental health crisis, there is help out there.

​​​For an emergency or crisis situation, call 911.

You can also contact the Saskatchewan suicide prevention line toll-free, 24/7 at 1-833-456-4566, the Regina Mobile Crisis Services suicide line at 306-525-5333 or Saskatoon mobile crisis line at 306-933-6200.

You can find out more about OSI-CAN here.


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Cancer Cures Part 3 – Seeds




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Drug Free America: Yes We Can




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Health Ranger posts new microscopy photos of covid swabs, covid masks and mysterious red and blue fibers




(Natural News) What follows is a series of microscopy photos of covid swabs (a synthetic swab, then a cotton swab), a covid mask and some zoomed-in photos of mysterious red and blue fibers found in the masks.

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The images shown here are 600 pixels wide. We have higher resolution images available to researchers and indy media journalists; contact us for those hi-res images.

More microscopy investigations are under way, and new images will be posted as they are finalized.

First, this series shows the carbon fiber layer of a covid mask, illuminated with UV light:

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