Overcoming Mental Illness & Starting the Conversation for First Responders with Police Offer, Keith Harrison
In this week’s episode, I am joined by Keith Harrison, a Police Officer in Toronto, and the founder of Tier Response Apparel, which highlights mental health conversations. We discuss his own journey of dealing with mental illness after trauma exposure in the field, what ultimately made him leave the force to work on himself, and how he found his way back. He shares resources and organizations available to help first responders in need of mental health services, what we as individuals can be doing to support the cause, and much more.
Keith has been a Police Officer in Ontario for over 16 years. As a result of Trauma exposure and not obtaining internal support, he went off work in early 2018 to take care of himself because he could not do the job any longer. He thought at that time he would no longer be a police officer or return to the job. Through outside support, services and trauma programs, traumatic growth, and healing, he is now back working after being off for three years. In 2021 when he was returning to work he made the decision that he was going to be the someone he didn’t have 10+ years ago and that he was going to be someone that would continue to recover loudly and show that there is strength in seeking help, support and that one can overcome from a struggling state to thriving one living the best life possible. He created an apparel company, Tier Response Apparel which highlights mental health conversations and supports 1st Responders (ALL), including: medical personnel, corrections, and the military to provide funds to services and organizations that deliver programs and services to 1st Responders and their families. He is a father of three amazing kids who he wants to show and heal with them knowing that they feel like it’s okay to seek help and support for their feelings as they develop and grow.
Tune in to this week’s episode to learn:
- How Keith was able to work on his own mental health and ultimately rejoin the force after taking a leave
- What we can be doing to better support and normalize the conversations around mental health
- How we can end the stigma of seeking mental health support as first responders and healthcare professionals
- Why Keith was afraid to come forward and talk about his own struggles in the beginning
- Resources available to help first responders and their families that need support
Grab your drink of choice and join the conversation!
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