- If you’ve never worked in emergency services then these images will give you a glimpse into our world.
- I never thought of what dispatchers go through during these mayday events.
- Mental health, PTSD & the negative stigma associated with occupational stress injuries
- How my artwork has saved me from my demons
- Better Mental Health Through a Creative Mind
Daniel Sundahl, Firefighter / Paramedic / Artist, is passionate about raising mental health awareness for first responders by sharing his own experience with mental health.
Presentation Title: Stand Up to Stigma – How I battle the dark side of EMS with my artwork
Session Description: His journey from battling his own demons to purging his nightmares in artwork will be shared through images based on calls: “I’ve attended as a paramedic and firefighter”. Although these are his stories, you will connect with them through your own experiences and realize you’re not alone in how you’re feeling.
The negative stigma of mental health among first responders is present and strong but the international connection of first responders to my work is proof that we are not alone in the way we feel.
Learning Objective – Recognize some not-so-obvious signs and symptoms of PTSD and occupational stress injuries. (PTSD: Post-traumatic stress disorder)
Learn methods to decrease the effects of PTSD through resiliency.
Check up from the neck up—a short self-quiz for self-evaluation.
As a full-time firefighter and paramedic for over 15 years, he gets his motivation for his emergency services artwork through his experiences on the job.
Dan is passionate about raising mental health and PTSD awareness for his profession.
Dan puts a lot of emotion into his work as an artist, and as you look through these images, you may connect with them if as a fellow first responder.
For non-first responders, this is a unique view of our world. Most of us think about helping and treating the injured and never consider that it may be us who will need saving.
If you’ve never worked in emergency services, then these images will give you a glimpse into our world.
Most of us think about helping and treating the injured and never consider that it may be us who will need saving.
I never thought about being saved by the ones we go to rescue.
Sometimes, someone asks me why some of my images are so graphic. A non-first responder almost always asks this question.
Dan explains that this is the reality of our job and says that what they see in my work is what he actually saw on that call and in many cases, it was much worse.
If you are a non-first responder looking at this image, imagine what this scene was like before this suicidal patient was sedated.
Imagine the noise this patient made while trying to scream without a jaw. Imagine trying to keep yourself together as a medic trying to save this persons life.
There’s nothing gratuitous about this image, this is what we see and this is what we do…
When Dan visited the dispatchers for a Fire department. He never thought of what these dispatchers go through during these mayday events.
In many communities these dispatchers are friends and family with the emergency workers they work with.
Dispatchers are the ones speaking with fallen police officers and firefighters during their last moments.
They may not be on scene but managing communications during these events is crucial to a successful rescue.
Daniel Sundahl is trying to raise awareness so that someone who feels like the medic in this image realizes they’re not alone.
“Daniel spoke eloquently and candidly about turning his personal struggles into his inspiration for his wonderful artwork. Thank you Daniel for participating in our conference.”
“Sundahl was amazing! His work is truly inspirational”.
“At one part during one of Dan’s pediatric stories, my eyes were getting misty. I was just so touched by it all”.
Note Dan’s book: “Portraits of an Emergency” is a collection of images created by Daniel Sundahl a firefighter, paramedic, and an artist. The creation of these images provides a rare insight to the mental toll faced in the world of emergency services.
Many of these images originate from real emergencies attended by the artist, and help serve as a creative outlet in processing the terrible scenes Dan has witnessed.
Here is a rare look inside the world of emergency work and the mental toll it brings to those working in emergency services.
Books by Daniel Sundahl