USI hosts annual Mental Health Summit

USI Hosts Mental Health Summit

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Tuesday was USI’s Mental Health Summit a that’s usually centered around veterans, but this year, first responders were also a part of the conversation.

They are typically the first to rise at the scene of a tragedy and that’s why leaders at USI included first responders at this year’s summit.

Kevin Zimmerman, a military veteran and Help for Heroes national director of outreach, spoke Tuesday about mental health treatment.

He shared his story in front of dozens who he believes need to hear what it means to process a traumatic experience.

“It’s facing the reality of the situation that you were in, and accepting the reality of the circumstances that you had to face,” said Zimmerman.

Kim Garrett of the Evansville Fire Department Peer Support Team believes the addition of first responders at this year’s summit was crucial.

This summer, authorities around the Tri-State have responded to numerous heartbreaking calls, some involving children. We have even seen them overcome with emotion and the trauma that can take a toll over time.

“We deal with people. A lot of times it’s the worst day of their life and we’re supposed to swoop in and help them and fix everything,” said Garrett.

While that is part of the job, Tuesday’s summit was a reminder to not forget to help themselves.

“Those are professionals who have been trained to navigate you through that, to deal with that pain, have you put that pain in the proper perspective in your life so that you can then rise above the pain and live a holistic lifestyle," said Zimmerman.

Zimmerman also pointed out that not all mental health treatment and therapy works in the same way for everybody. He encourages first responders to keep trying until they find what’s right for them.

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