Dr. Shannon answers the Heartland’s mental health questions

Heartland Mental Health Questions: Ask Dr. Shannon
Published: Sep. 24, 2023 at 9:05 AM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - Dr. Shannon Cubria Farris is a clinical psychologist. He will be a guest on The Breakfast Show on Sunday mornings, answering viewers’ questions about mental health.

You can join in the conversation by submitting anonymous questions here.

September is Suicide Prevention Month, and Dr. Shannon talks about suicide prevention for first responders this week.

According to Dr. Shannon, 30% of first responders develop behavioral health conditions including, but not limited to, depression and PTSD, as compared with 20% in the general population.

“Firefighters were reported to have higher attempt and ideation rates than the general population, and between 125 and 300 police officers commit suicide every year,” Dr. Shannon said. “One in four have attempted suicide nationally.”

Dr. Shannon says many first responders are reluctant to seek care, for multiple reasons:

  • fears of stigma
  • irrational codes of silence
  • fear of possible disciplinary action

He provided a Mental Health Action Plan for first responders that includes prioritizing boundaries, daily activities, limiting social media, and doing things you enjoy.

Dr. Shannon also shared multiple resources for anyone who needs help.

Mental health affects everyone, whether it’s directly or indirectly. It affects friends, family members, co-workers, and other people in your life. According to Dr. Shannon, you don’t have true health until you have your mental health. Dr. Shannon’s goal is to work together with people and create a safe space to talk about mental health in a way that truly matters.

Dr. Shannon can answer questions about mental illness, dealing with mental illness, working with your children or family members and more. If Dr. Shannon doesn’t have all of the answers, he will find an expert who will be able to answer you.

He hopes these conversations about mental health can lend themselves to a little bit more understanding of what might be going on. He wants the Heartland to lean in with curiosity about situations, especially when it’s uncomfortable.