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Paul Semeniuk

Updated: Nov 12, 2021

Firefighter and Co-Founder of Mental Rescue Society

Episode 22: The Powerful Message of a First Responder


Firefighter Paul Semeniuk steps in The Inner Circle today to talk about mental health issues in First Responders. As someone that arrives first on a scene when people are in their most trying of times, Paul has seen it all. He is leading a family of other heroes to help first responders face the trauma and process their stress in an open, kind, and dignified way. He talks about his own experiences with stress and irritability, what PTSD is and what it looks like in a professional and personal sense, and his charity Mental Rescue Society. Paul’s work aims to provide free mental health first-aid training to his family of other First Responders, so they can be strong and healthy to in turn help others.

What You’ll Hear in This Episode:

● The incredible camaraderie that is inside Paul’s Firefighter family, and how a team of First Responders is typically similar to a sports team.

● The old ways of distracting or ignoring stress and trauma, and why that doesn’t work in the long run.

● What Mental First Aid is, and why it is such a step forward in our society to speak openly and seek help.

● What PTSD is, and how it relates to First Responders.

● The signs and symptoms that PTSD has on our physical, emotional and social life, and why it’s important to encourage openness and respect when discussing it.

● The profound shift that happens in ours and other’s life when we truly listen in our conversations.

● That you don’t have to live your life feeling irritable, confrontational and disengaged.

● An inside look at what First Responders see when answering a call.

● The different types of trauma and what they mean, including: primary, secondary, moral and vicarious.

● Why you may rethink asking a First Responder to recount a memory of the worst thing they’ve seen in their career.

● The proactive approach Paul and his team are taking to train recruits early on Mental Health First Aid.

● How digesting a big burger led Paul to develop The Great Stair Climb.

● The night and day difference Paul feels as a father and husband from getting the proper treatment and support.


● “We signed up to help. We signed up to give back to society.”

● “We don’t sign up for the aftermath, and it’s something you aren’t prepared for.”

● “We’ve always got each other back no matter what.”

● “If you are irritable, that is something you need to get help with.”

● “If we can all look out for one person, then we are all covered.”

● “If people in our world can deal with depression, then climbing stairs for 24 hours pales in comparison.


Journey Into the Inner Circle:

@CarrieADoll - Twitter

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