May is Mental Health Awareness Month and an important time to recognize the issues that affect our overall well-being. Throughout this month, we also recognize a host of frontline workers who, on a daily basis, put the needs of others before their own. At The Calli Institute, we applaud those unsung community heroes and want to take a closer look at their jobs and the personal sacrifices they make to put others first.

Taking an Altruistic Route

At some point, we all decide what we want to be when we “grow up.” Some hope to become rich or famous, some follow a creative dream or an expressive passion, and some simply want to help others, make a difference, or better the world. They deal with unimaginable stressors every day but handle it well, often setting aside their own well-being to get the job done.

Fortunately, there are plenty of professions that allow one to engage his or her social conscience, all of which enjoy special recognition in May. And if you check the list of careers for people who want to save the world, each of these makes the list.

Teaching and Inspiring – Educators

Every year in early May, we honor and celebrate educators during Teacher Appreciation Week, May 2-6. This is a time to thank a teacher – or teachers – for all they do to prepare and inspire young minds.

Those outside of the classroom might think that teachers work during school hours. That their day is done mid-afternoon. But teachers work longer hours than each school day implies. They spend their evenings and weekends grading tests, reading papers, and preparing the next day or following week’s lesson plan. Some coach after-school sports or activities. And let’s not forget meetings and parent-teacher conferences.

Teaching at any level is as demanding as it is rewarding. Each day teachers ensure students are learning in an effective and safe atmosphere. And not every student learns at the same pace or in the same way, so teachers continually adjust their methods to personalize lessons and help each student progress, develop, and grow.

They help build and nurture a solid foundation of curiosity, harmony, understanding, and knowledge so students can develop into their best selves. The job is challenging and sometimes stressful, often skewing the work-life balance.

Guarding Life and Property – Firefighters

Firefighters risk their lives to safeguard the lives and property of others. And some of them do this voluntarily. Whether paid or otherwise, firefighters plan, prepare, and train for emergency fire or medical situations during which we call upon them for help. And they answer, without hesitation.

May 4 is International Firefighters’ Day (IFFD). Across the globe, communities recognize and support the crucial work and extraordinary sacrifices firefighters make to protect the people and places within their communities every day. IFFD is also a time to honor, remember, and pay respect to those firefighters who lost their lives while working to keep others safe.

The job often sends these men and women into urgent, hazardous circumstances and environments. Their training helps prepare them for quick assessment and response to very real dangers many of us couldn’t imagine. As a result, firefighters can frequently experience anxiety disorders, trauma-related ailments, and PTSD.

Caring for Others – Nurses

The origin of nursing can be traced back to 300 A.D. In the first hospitals throughout the Roman Empire, nurses assisted doctors by providing care. The word itself comes from the Latin “nutrire,” meaning “to support” or “to nurture.” And as their title implies, nurses dedicate their lives to supporting and nurturing the needs of others.

So, each year we celebrate and admire these caregivers during National Nurses Week, May 6-12.

Nurses work long, strenuous hours to identify patient needs and implement patient care. Nurses come to the rescue when people don’t feel well, are hurting, or need help to heal or recover. Their selflessness and commitment to others ensures individuals and communities can regain and maintain health and wellness.

And oftentimes nurses sacrifice their own wellness in the process. Because of the physical and emotional demands of the job, nurses can become burned out and/or suffer from compassion fatigue, anxiety, or depression.

Protecting and Serving – Law Enforcement

National Peace Officers Week, also known as National Police Week, is observed from May 11-17. The purpose is to commemorate the service and sacrifice of local, state, and federal law enforcement officers who have died or been injured in the line of duty.

Police officers serve their communities through law enforcement, crime prevention, offering support services, and responding to emergency situations. With each call, officers potentially risk physical and emotional safety. They may be called to diffuse a dangerous encounter or deal with an erratic individual, or they might witness disturbing events.

Due to of the range of incidents police officers regularly handle, the job can take a mental toll. Officers habitually suffer high rates of depression, burnout, and anxiety. Also, the National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that law enforcement officers are more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty.

Responding to Emergencies – Emergency Responders

President Gerald Ford established Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week in 1974 to honor EMS professionals and the contributions they make to our communities. This year we celebrate National EMS Week from May 15-21.

When injuries, illnesses, and emergencies arise, EMS workers respond with immediacy, providing care prior to or enroute to the hospital.

EMS professionals assess a patient’s condition to determine care and treatment, oftentimes in high-stress or life-or-death situations. The extensive EMS system trains personnel to handle every type of emergency with current and comprehensive life-saving measures. The immediacy and severity of some situations can be stressful and jeopardize mental wellness over time.

Wellness Work Force – Mental Health Providers

With May being Mental Health Awareness Month, we also want to recognize mental health providers. This includes our caring crew at Calli as well as every wellness professional who gives of him or herself to listen to and support others struggling with mental health issues.

Like everyone else, mental health providers can experience daily stressors or become burned out as a result of the essence of their profession. The statistics about rising mental health issues and concerns often include these people, too.

Wellness workers are regular people with regular worries and often increased demands due to their roles. And yet we depend on their expertise and advice, because they’re trained to help us when we are at our most vulnerable.

Helping Those Who Help Others

Stressful and demanding professions are necessary and commended. During Mental Health Awareness Month, it’s important to recognize our own wellness and applaud those unsung community heroes who put others before themselves. We might take for granted that these workers have it together because we depend on them for so much. But we need to be aware of what others deal with every day and how it affects their wellness. If you or someone you love feels weighed down, burned out, or exhausted by career or other life demands, please let us know. The professionals at The Calli Institute takes a personalized approach to wellness that helps individuals identify and reclaim balance, purpose, and self.

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