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Undercover Mental Health

Undercover Mental Health

By Steve Serbic
Mental Health - Real Stories - Real People
This podcast is about mental health and PTS. Admitting you have struggled with mental health is probably one of the hardest things to do, please help us keep the conversation going to help end the stigma surrounding mental health.
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The Burden of Abuse - Listener discretion is advised

Undercover Mental Health

Behind The Line
Lindsay Faas have spent over a decade working in the field of trauma therapy, and many of those years working one-on-one with First Responders and Front Line Workers struggling with the weight of their work. Her specialty and focus is working with Police, Fire Fighters, Paramedics, Corrections, Dispatchers, Nurses, and Military. The guests on her podcast " Behind The Line" tell stories of tough calls, tough workplaces and organizational stress. The goal of her work is to keep the conversation going, break down the stigma and help someone out of a tough spot. Check out Behind The Line at Behind The Line Podcast for First Responders by Lindsay Faas (
August 02, 2022
What a Ride
When firefighters arrive to a scene, there is the adrenaline rush, the heat, the smoke, kicking in the door and then truly fighting the fire.  Isabel Ruediger talks about how fulfilling the job can be, and after putting 30 years in, she left as one of the most respected leaders on the job. Leading the departments CISM team and helping her fellow firefighters when they were struggling, Izzy decided she wanted to continue making a difference and is now am established and very busy Clinical Counsellor. What a career, what a human, what a story! 
July 30, 2022
The Good Doctor
Dr. Mark Vu sees trauma everyday, if not in the emergency or in surgery, then on the streets as the Medic Lead for a Regional Police Public Safety Unit. A leader when it comes to educating Police Officers and Firefighters on (TECC) Tactical Emergency Critical Care. Juggling work life / balance is really hard for everyone, Mark's unique outlook on life is super contagious, we should all be taking a page out of this mans recipe for happiness.
July 09, 2022
Mental Judo
Mental Health Judo breaks down the concepts of Mindfulness, Empathy, Self-compassion and the daily rituals we need to practice in order to stay healthy. Stress and suffering are actually part of the human experience, so you need to learn how to be kind to yourself and understand that things from your past or your daily thoughts don’t define you as a person and that you can build a healthy daily routine to manage those thoughts. Strong mental health is enhanced by understanding that mind, body, and spirit are the three components of our system that need to all be working together on a daily basis. Dr. Chuck Allen and Dr. Jim Keats guide us in improving our mindfulness and self-compassion by helping us understand how to manage our thoughts and get us into the now.
June 15, 2022
Over the Rail
Kevin Briggs - known as the Guardian of the Golden Gate Bridge; a dedicated California Highway Patrol Officer who courageously helped people who were having their worst day. Kevin might look like just another Cop, but the truth is, he is something special.  He went above and beyond the call of duty every time he was called upon on when responding to someone in need on the bridge. Many of the people who climbed back to safety on the platform of the bridge will tell you that Kevin Briggs didn't just listen, in many cases he created a vision for them on how they were going to restart their lives, and why it was important for them to continue to live. Kevin shares the technique he used to gain trust, create conversation and then help people take the first step to starting a new life. Climbing back over the rail. 
May 28, 2022
Dare to Lead
A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent. Our guest Keith Lidner speaks to his 35 years of experience in Policing. He has held almost every position from drug enforcement, Major Crimes Unit, to ERT. He is very well respected and is a leader who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.
May 07, 2022
A Good Cry
Steve Robinson was hired by the Surrey Fire Service in 1992, leaving Surrey Fire Service as an Assistant Fire Chief,  Steve went on to become the Fire Chief of the City of Kamloops. When in Surrey, Steve was involved in helping develop an amazing CISM team from its infancy. Steve was one of the go-to resource for delivering CISM sessions to firefighters after being exposed to trauma. SFS built one of the best mental health support systems for firefighters in North America. Steve also sat on the Fire Chiefs Canadian Mental Health Committee and was instrumental in bringing the Resilient Minds Program to KFR and text to counseling appointment services. Steve sat on the Canadian Mental Health Committee for Fire Chiefs. Steve talks about why it's not only OK to get emotional, it's encouraged and that he wants people to know they are supported.
April 16, 2022
The Long Road Back
Brady Leavold grew up in Greater Vancouver, playing AAA minor hockey kept him out of trouble; he was a really good hockey player and scouts  started to take notice.  Brady started experiencing anxiety and using drugs just as his Western Hockey League career started to take shape, it was all there for this young hockey player to make his way to the show; he eventually did sign with the Tampa Bay Lighting, but it was short lived.  His life started to spiral out of control and he ended up homeless, on the east side of Vancouver. His story could be a best seller in how hard he works to stay clean and how he helps others. He speaks opening about the mistakes he has made and tells his tragic story courageously in hopes to help others, and prevent kids from following the same path.
March 16, 2022
Time to Go
"You must leave this area immediately," that is what is broadcasted when a wildfire is raging toward your community, people frantically rushing toward their homes, packing up their belongings and leaving your community in less than three hours.  The town of Logan Lake spent a decade in preparation, focusing on fire mitigation that definitely saved the community from a behemoth of a wildfire that threatened the community and everyone who lived there. This Podcast features one of the few who stayed behind to help support the firefighters coming in to take a stand on that wildfire. Krista Dick tells what it is like to live in a remote community, have family members who are firefighters, and then decide whether to stay or to go. Krista stayed, and was so helpful to those folks who came in and tried to help out this small town.
March 01, 2022
The Occupational Athlete
Firefighters often suffer injuries in the line of duty. As “occupational athletes” Firefighters often face the risk of injury and must frequently cope with post traumatic stress injuries. Arron Fields has developed a program that tens of thousands of Firefighters have used to better prepare themselves when responding to fires, which is helping reduce the risk of being Injured physically and mentally.
February 02, 2022
Rising to the challenge
Rising to the challenge when it comes to mental health, Steve Farina from the British Columbia Professional Firefighters Association talks about working together with the employer on how to reduce the stigma in the Fire Service.  In 2019, the Fire Chiefs' Association of BC (FCABC) and the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Association (BCPFFA) held a two-day BC Fire Leadership Summit in Victoria. This was an opportunity for leaders to gain a greater understanding of our respective challenges, with a focus on successful labour relations, mental health. Membership and management working towards common goals, we are all in this together!
January 16, 2022
Day It All Changed
A snowy night in Winnipeg changed the lives of so many. Our guest has dedicated his life to training others and coaching them to be the best they can be, so that event never happens again. Lionel Crowther is one of the most courageous firefighters in the country, not because he was involved in a tragic event, but because he is willing to talk about it and help others. His words are powerful, his message is strong and he speaks openly about the support of his amazing wife Joanna, and the doctors, caregivers and all the fellow firefighters he has met along the way who helped him through the toughest time in his life. 
December 31, 2021
Tactical Breathing - Fight-or-Flight - Anxiety Management
Breathing is one the most effective tools for Special Forces and Emergency Response Teams and now departments are realizing every first responder must understand how to control their breathing to be able to manage their fight-or-flight response. This training is being delivered across North America to reduce Post Traumatic Stress Injuries. Mindfulness is an effective and empowering solution for helping First Responders perform at their peak and more importantly recover after being exposed to trauma. Mindfulness is a tool used to enhance alertness, effectiveness and compassion and it has been used for thousands of years to relive stress and anxiety.
December 15, 2021
Heads Up Guys
Dr. John Ogrodniczuk talks about anxiety over the holidays, breathing, sleep and visualizations can help you get through some of these stressful periods of your life. Heads Up Guys is an online resource created at the University of British Columbia and was created by Dr. John.  Men will often talk about feeling angry or irritable rather than sad or down. These myths can also feel like handcuffs for men, preventing them from reaching out to others for even a little support. This contributes to many men not seeking support until their depression is very severe, if at all. This can place men at an increased risk of taking their own lives HeadsUpGuys | Manage & Prevent Depression in Men
December 01, 2021
Firefighting and CISM the First Nations way
First Nations Firefighters are not just on the front lines when it comes to fighting fires, they are also suffering a higher level of post traumatic stress  injuries. First Nations communities are disproportionately threatened by wildfires, along with medical and fire calls within some of their more remote communities. Our guest is Kynan O'Rourke, a Deputy Fire Chief who helped build up British Columbia's First Nations Emergency Services Society, training Firefighters and helping communities in a time of crisis and then to help them to better prepare for emergencies.
November 30, 2021
The Why
Why would someone want to take their own life? Paul Rosen is a suicide survivor and recovering addict, he talks openly about his mental illness and his road to recovery. In 1975 as a promising 15-year-old Midget AAA hockey player, Rosen was skating hard in tournament when he caught a rut in the ice, fell and snapped his leg in 14 places. Over the next 24 years, Rosen underwent countless surgeries to repair his leg, however, in 1997 his leg snapped again. Over the next 18 months he suffered through 14 more unsuccessful surgeries until doctors discovered a massive infection in his knee and delivered the diagnosis that at age 39, his right leg would have to be amputated. Paul Rosen has represented Canada as a member of the Paralympic ice hockey team three times, winning gold in 2006. The former goaltender joins CBC/Radio-Canada’s broadcast team for the Paralympic Winter Games as an ice hockey analyst.
November 01, 2021
Whispers on the Ocean
Tracee Andrews is a mental health ally, former paramedic, author and an amazing Canadian. After graduating from the Justice Institute of British Columbia’s Paramedic Academy, the author spent most of her sixteen year medical career working in Vancouver’s infamous Downtown Eastside. In her first novel, she delves into the lives and histories of the people she came to know while working as a paramedic in Canada’s poorest neighborhood. Tracee’s book speaks to one of Canada’s greatest wrongs and its lasting impact on generations of people, related and otherwise. It is a story of how institutionalized bigotry has shaped Canada’s relationship with its First Nations Peoples. It exposes a dark, and until recently, hidden chapter in Canadian history, that of Indian Residential Schools; the effects of which the Canadian Government now acknowledges as being “profoundly negative.”
October 01, 2021
The Mental Game
Children benefit from playing sports in many ways. Through participation, teamwork, improved motor skills and of course physical health.  This podcast focuses on the most important aspect of sport; the mental aspect.  Professional athletes are pushed each and every day to give 100% of their physical ability, but many people are unaware that being a professional athlete and performing at an elite level requires more of your mind than body. Our guest is a coach and former pitcher of one of the toughest mental sports on the planet, baseball. This podcast is about mental preparation; not just for your sport but for your life.
September 16, 2021
What's Happening
A courageous story of survival from an author, musician, songwriter.  Michael Barry is someone who has suffered from Disassociated Disorder and PTSD most of his life. Understanding what is happening when you suffer from anxiety and panic attacks on a daily basis is next to impossible to recover from without help from a health profession. Getting the right diagnoses and then the correct treatment is absolutely critical in moving forward. Michael talks about how he has survived to this point in his life and how he gets through each day. It starts with being kind to yourself and realizing that getting help is the most important thing you can do towards living a healthier life. Author - Rooftops, available on Amazon 
September 01, 2021
The Unbroken
There has never been a better time to seek – and be accepted for – help with your mental wellbeing. Marcus Da Silva hosts The Mysteria Podcast and he interviews Steve Serbic about his book The Unbroken. Discussing feelings of being alone as a kid and struggling with mental health before becoming teenager can be difficult but Steve tries to normalize that conversation and he wants to create an environment where its OK to not be OK, and to be able to talk about it. Talking to someone you trust, a close friend or family member, even your doctor, are very important to learn early in life so that you can maintain not only strong mental health, but understanding that it's ok to talk about how you feel.  Steve Serbic shares his story and experiences as a way of encouraging others to do the same, his book The Unbroken can be purchased at all major bookstores and on amazon.
August 30, 2021
No PTSD for me
Many people wrongly assume that Post Traumatic Stress is inevitable for anyone exposed to trauma, this guest states that for him personally, it is clearly not the case. He speaks openly about how he has endured trauma both at home and on the front lines as a Firefighter but has never suffered from PTSI.  In fact he believes that the majority of firefighters are not affected by trauma and live mentally healthy lives. Working in one of the busiest fire departments will definitely affect you and perhaps your family, but this 31-year veteran believes that he has retired from his career completely unaffected. Steve and this guest have worked together for over 30 years, they have a very special relationship, only one struggled and the other did not.  Listen to them talk about their different perspectives on mental health in fire service.
August 07, 2021
Second Chance
When most kids were starting College Ian Humphrey was starting a long term prison sentence, because of factors in life that he could not control, it was where he was supposed to be. Growing up in South Central LA, going to prison was a right of passage for most men, and Ian was convinced by many that he would be up there. Ian Humphrey is one of the most amazing speakers out there, he is humble, he is proud and he courageously tells his story to help others. It is a story of a young man who gave up on himself and was about to follow the path he thought was set out for him, ending up in prison. The change in his life came when he met a man who believed in him, looking at not where he was, but what he could become. When you believe in someone, anything can happen, and Ian Humphrey is an example of how a tragic story can turn beautiful. Please check out Ian's Goalcast story, it is one of the most motivational videos you will ever watch. (Ian Humphrey "It's a Great Day to Be Alive" -
August 02, 2021
Mental Health Mayday
When a firefighter has a mental health crisis, he makes the decision to call his Battalion Chief from the hospital. In some organizations this might be career ending, but this firefighter tells how that call helped him rise from the darkest moment in his life to feeling supported and having a sense of wellbeing. Telling your boss that you are struggling with anxiety, depression, or any other mental health issue is terrifying. Andrew proves that it was the best thing he could have done. Evidence-based research states that when the employer steps up and supports an employee when they suffer a mental health injury or crisis, the organization will benefit when that employee returns to work. The fire service leads the way in helping others see the benefit of creating education and awareness around mental health, and then stepping up and supporting employees when they go through difficult times.
July 30, 2021
A Fighting Chance
Call it guts, call it courage, boxing is one of the toughest sports on the planet. It takes incredible endurance and strength to box, but more than anything, it takes determination. Throughout life you are told you're not big enough, strong enough or tough enough, there are very few places where you can actually prove them all wrong. Our guest, Amelia Moore is one of the most determined human beings I have ever met and has an amazing outlook on life. She has worked so hard to get to where she is now, and she goes out of her way to inspire others along the way. Follow Amelia Moore on her quest for gold - / Instagram @1Moore_Round /
July 16, 2021
Fire Department Chronicles
Funny man Jason Patton, takes a very unique approach to bringing awareness to mental health - he uses comedy. In this episode, Jason talks about the best way to treat firefighters when they are exposed to trauma and the thought process around getting help. He also talks about his personal views on what needs to change and what is already being done. Mental health providers face an uphill battle when treating firefighters. One of the biggest challenges within the fire service when seeking help is the stigma. Firefighters do not trust that mental health providers are able to understand their problems and therefore resist going into treatment. Firefighters like Jason Patton can speak the language and help get other firefighters into treatment by explaining the process and reducing the anxiety around the unknown. Having someone who has been there, telling you what to expect, is very powerful and extremely helpful for that person to take the first step.
June 02, 2021
The Spiritual Way
Depression is characterized by despair, hopelessness, and a disconnect from one’s everyday. This condition often requires professional treatment, such as therapy or medication or both, but spirituality can also play a significant role in alleviating the harmful effects of depression. Mindfulness, yoga and getting out into nature. The question that everyone needs to ask themselves, why am I here, what it my purpose. In this episode Dr. Chuck challenges us on our spiritual philosophy
May 29, 2021
Addiction - A Mother's Story by June Ariano-Jakes
June Ariano-Jakes tells a story of unconditional love as she deals with her son's devastating addiction. She talks about never giving up in spite of everything she and her son experience during his descent into addiction.  It is a raw, open and honest account of a mother's determination to bring hope into a situation that seems hopeless.  Her stories are heartbreaking and disturbing, yet she tells them with courage and integrity.  A story told about a journey no one knows better than a parent or loved one who has walked that path.  Part Two of Podcast #47 "The Burden of Abuse"
May 15, 2021
Equine Therapy (Part one) - The FEEL Approach
Speaking with Brenda Brown, the owner of Mystic Waters Ranch. The horses on her ranch help to reveal your true authentic self, and help you FEEL the positive emotions we naturally desire as human beings. FEEL stands for - Facilitated Equine Experiential Learning Approach. This experience will facilitate the reconnection of your heart and soul-inspiring healing and growth. Used to help people struggling with PTS, Anxiety and Depression. Brenda Brown - 604-788-7524 / / 3438 205 St., Langley, BC V2Z 2C9
April 03, 2021
Equine Therapy - Saddles in Service (Part Two)
Tammy and Mike Oluvic have donated their time and their ranch in San Diego to provide mental health wellness and healing for Active Duty Military, Veterans, Law Enforcement, Firefighters, First Responders, and their families that are experiencing or have been diagnosed with symptoms related to post-traumatic stress (PTSD), anxiety, depression, job-related stress, and/or traumatic brain injuries by partnering them with a rescued horse at no cost to them. Saddles In Service PO Box 692 Descanso, CA 91916 / 619 566-6208​ /
April 02, 2021
The Now
Dr. Chuck and a Paramedic talk our world looks a little different today vs just a year ago. Citizens of towns, cities and counties across the globe are being asked to isolate themselves,  Paramedics and Firefighters are frontline warriors in this new era and having to respond into homes.  It’s a war they’ve trained for, and they’re answering every call – from working overtime to following strict PPE, infection control and documentation guidelines. Despite their training and new protocols, there are always high levels of stress and uncertainty in any major incident but that stress during this pandemic is taking its toll on all frontline workers. EMTs and paramedics and Firefighters must recognize and have to accept that they will likely encounter increased levels of stress as this pandemic evolves. What is the cost to them, their families and their future as first responders?
March 31, 2021
The Fire Service - your not alone!
Join host Susan Ney and her guest Steve Serbic as they talk about the culture of Fire Services departments and the fact that although surveys conducted have found that 95% of firefighters feel critical incident stress and 65% are traumatized by calls, over 80% of firefighters don’t feel they can talk to a peer/seek help about how they are feeling due to concern that they might be perceived as weak or unfit for duty. The suicide rate for this profession is high. Steve is making it his business to bring voice to this reality and concern. His book The Unbroken: A Firefighter’s Memoir will be available in bookstores soon. Steve will share his personal story and the work he is doing to change the culture in Fire and Protective Services departments across North America
March 27, 2021
The Resilient One
Most commonly, the term resilience has come to mean an individual’s ability to overcome adversity and continue his or her normal development and in some cases find growth. This Firefighter feels he has something special and Dr. Chuck talks about dealing with exposure and how significant adversity is effectively dealt with if the patient is able to wrap their head around what they were exposed to. The resilience of a person is both the capacity of an individual to navigate their way to the psychological, spiritual and physical resources that will help them sustain their well-being.
March 16, 2021
Through the eyes of a Millennial
A 24-year-old school teacher speaks about the experiences of his generation. From the understated effects of flipping through emotions on social media and the pressures involved in secondary and post-secondary education, to the importance of travel and athletics in mainting mental wellness and stability.
March 07, 2021
The Downtown Eastside
Depression - Addiction - homelessness - Heartbreak. A Paramedic that feels it is an honour to serve the citizens who are struggling on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Even though he battles depression himself, he loves what he does and feels like he is contributing to society by helping others. Canada is supposed to be a civilized country and an extremely wealthy country. But there are thousands of stories from people who have lost their way and have ended up homeless in Vancouver. 85 percent of people on the street have mental health issues, and drugs and alcohol complicate the situation. Research shows that you need to start with a roof over your head and have support before you can even begin to address the other issues. Dedicated first responders and support workers are the foot soldiers, savings dozens of lives each and every day on the eastside of Vancouver, and they never stop, working 24/7.
March 02, 2021
Demystifying Mental Health in the Fire Service
Two mental health professionals: Dr. Chuck Allen and Dr. Jim Keats, who work with firefighters and fire departments to improve mental health. They encourage firefighters to discuss their emotions and experiences and help their patients change the way they think about trauma.
February 28, 2021
The Burden of Abuse - Listener discretion is advised
June Ariano-Jakes is one of the top High School speakers in the country, empowering kids to reach out for help and to let them know they are not alone. In the aftermath of a traumatic event, June shares her own personal story as she explains how keeping trauma bottled up can lead to extremely difficult and painful emotions. Every survivor responds to traumatic events in their own way. The effects of the trauma can last long after the event. June explains how reaching out for help can be terrifying but she explains the importance of doing so, and how she herself has recovered from trauma, and has now been able to help others.  (Listener discretion is advised)
February 21, 2021
Mindset Shift
Covid and isolation, working from home, maybe loss of income and then add in a bit of fear, it's triggering a whole bunch of new mental health conditions or exacerbating existing ones. Many people in this pandemic are facing increased levels of alcohol and drug use, insomnia, and anxiety, our guest Sara Wegwitz is a resiliency team coach who works with organizations on overall health and mental wellbeing. She provides strategies that can help people refocus and maintaining perspective in the bigger picture.  If you are interested in learning more, you can reach Sara Wegwitz at
February 07, 2021
Wounded Heroes Podcast
Our guest on this podcast is American Filmmaker Michael Gier, who has just completed a documentary that will honor our military and first responders. His goal is to bring more awareness to Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS).  There are millions suffering from PTS, with 22 Veterans a day taking their own lives; one every 65 minutes. Veterans are reluctant to seek help for PTS due to the negative stigma associated with it. It is a sad fact that over 50 percent of veterans suffering from PTS go untreated. Michael hopes this documentary will change that statistic, lower the suicide rate, and save lives. So inspired, he has spent the last three years researching several innovative treatments for post-traumatic stress which, in turn, have helped countless Veterans and First Responders.
February 03, 2021
The Sunday Night Health Show with Maureen McGrath and Steve Serbic
This program has been re broadcasted and we apologize for the quality of sound. Join leading health expert Maureen McGrath tonight as she speaks to Mental Health Advocate Steve Serbic as he talks about his new book "The Unbroken". Please join Maureen every Sunday night for the Sunday Night Health Show , a live listener call-in radio program that educates listeners about sexual health, overall health, relationships and quality of life. LISTEN LIVE ACROSS CANADA 8pmPT-10pmPT
January 30, 2021
Enough of the macho bullshit
Stanley Cup Champion, 7-time NHL All Star and Olympic gold medallist, sharing his story and leading the charge when it comes to crushing the stigma that surrounds mental health. This Stanley Cup Champion and Olympic Gold Medalist has chosen to move forward, not allowing his past trauma to break his spirit. Throughout his NHL career, he battled addiction and demons from his past while also excelling at the highest level as a professional athlete in one of North America’s most competitive and physically demanding leagues. A key component to healing from trauma and building trust is vulnerability. Sharing struggles and personal difficulties with family and friends helps give understanding to the struggle someone is going through, it’s a very simple and powerful practice.
January 25, 2021
Building resiliency in your fire department
Sara Wegwitz is a Registered Nurse with a specialization in Mental Fitness, Resiliency Training, and Performance Coaching. She specializes in helping individuals and groups build confidence and transform the way that they think through “bite-sized” training experiences. Sara brings over 20 years of experience and education in the fields of critical care, health sciences, program development, facilitation, leadership, and coaching. Since September 2011 her company Tailor Making Health has been offering reputable programs that are tailored to meet the specific needs of organizations and groups. These dynamic programs consistently deliver results. Some of these results include a 40% reduction in sick and overtime costs; a consistent 3:1 ROI on health and wellness programming; gold medals at athletic World Championships; building more resilient and resourceful people; and enhancing workplace cultures. She has a demonstrated and proven track record working with first responders (police and fire), branches of the federal and provincial government, athletes and athletic teams, corporations and non-profit organization To contact Sara - email her at
January 18, 2021
The other side; a journey to Hell and back
One man who is not afraid to speak about his past and tell his story to anyone who will listen. A dark and ugly, yet inspiring journey that takes this man around the globe, helping High School students make better decisions and first responders understand Post Traumatic Stress. This is his mission and this is his story. Listener discretion is advised- graphic content
January 11, 2021
Inside the the barbed wire - Mental health in the military; a women's perspective
This female military member has been serving her country for over 20 years and still feels like she is treated differently than her male counterparts. She is proud, she is strong and she is hopeful that one day there will be equal opportunity for all in the military. Women in the service tend to be younger, more diverse, and are looking for opportunities to excel in their military career, but they are way more likely to have experienced sexual harassment during their service than their male peers.  Even though women today make up a very small percentage of the veteran population, they are honored to serve their country.  
January 04, 2021
Going Undercover
An undercover police officer talking about courage and how important trust is within an organization and about his own incredible story of recovery and how he helps other Officers have successful careers in policing. Courage, is what every police officer wants and aspires to. Without it, a police officer would not be able do his or her duties causing a negative impact within the organization. But what is often forgotten is that courage is more than running toward gunshots while everyone else runs away from them — so many officers are required to perform their dangerous duties while they suffer from anxiety and depression. The challenge for undercover officers is dealing with stress over a prolonged period as well as the conflict of living out two identities, their real one and their fake one. Many officers don't seek clinical counselling and many of them don't have trust within their own organization to reach out for help, but still must continue to perform at the highest level of vigilance. Ultimately you need trust within your organization. When your members feel supported and are able to reach out, they will perform at a higher level and help the organization as a whole.
December 28, 2020
3 Minute Sleep Tidbit
Sleeping allows your brain time to get back into balance all of the necessary chemicals and hormones that affect your mental clarity, mood and emotions and are so important for being calm, relaxed and happy. Sara Wegwitz is resiliency performance coach and an educator on getting good sleep.  If you are interested in learning more or hearing about how Sara can support the overall health and mental wellbeing of team members in your organization you can reach Sara Wegwitz at
December 13, 2020
The Spouse - Part two
A continuation on the importance of communication between a Firefighter and their spouse/partner. The ability to successfully channel anger and how to stop or resist playing the blame game. Knowing when to encourage communication and when to hold and be patient, allowing open communication without judgement or conflict.
December 07, 2020
The Spouse (Graphic content - listener discretion is advised)
The reality of being married to a firefighter is that your spouse will likely spend as much or more time with their crew than at home with you. They will be exposed to traumatic situations and will not always be able to come home and talk about it; that can strain your relationship if you don't understand what is happening and how to stay connected. Our guest talks about how her husband's experiences with traumatic calls affected her and their relationship, and Dr. Chuck uses her religious faith to help change her perception on how she thinks about traumatic events. Dr. Chuck has worked with veterans for over 30 years, and attempts to retrain those veterans on how to think about death. In this episode he uses that same technique on this firefighters wife. ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ (Listener discretion is advised - graphic content)
November 30, 2020
So you want to become a Firefighter
If you are thinking about applying to become a Firefighter, make sure you find out what you are up against before you proceed. There are many people out there who have decided that they want to become a Firefighter, and many of which have no clear understanding of what the job is all about and the challenges they will face  throughout their career.  If you are fortunate to make it through the entire process and get an interview, make sure you are prepared.  Listen to a brand new recruit tell you how he prepared for the interview in order for him to stand out from the crowd, and how that got him hired. 
November 22, 2020
One year ago today
A big thank you to all the folks who helped put this podcast together, it was a year ago today that we started Undercover Mental Health. Its been so much fun, and we very excited about our second season! Thanks so much, Steve Serbic
November 16, 2020
Meet the host
Meet Steve, the idea behind and host of the podcasts. Dedicated to uncovering the challenges of coming forward with mental health concerns, and unscripted ways to break through the stigmas, fears and challenges.
November 08, 2020
Being a Police Officer: The Importance of Comradery and Trust
 Police Officers are in the business of serving the public, but they are also often responsible for taking care of their own. A twenty year Police Officer speaks candidly about going to work everyday and managing stress; while helping his fellow officers do the same.
November 01, 2020
Identifying Firefighter Stress - Fire Psychology with Dr. Chuck
Stress is your body's way of responding to any kind of demand or threat. When you sense danger—whether it's real or imagined—the body goes into a defensive reaction or a “stress response.” The stress response is the body's way of protecting you, and the foundation of this response has been built up over time by your thought process, and your core values.  Living a life based on your values  – respect for others, balance, self-determination, spirituality, self-protection, and service for others is a way to build a strong stress response and to think positively.  Positive thinking often starts with self-talk and how you start your day. Self-talk is the endless stream of unspoken thoughts that run through your head. These automatic thoughts are programmed by you and can be positive or negative, thus building your stress response.  If the thoughts that run through your head are mostly negative, your outlook on life is more likely pessimistic. You will need to change that! If your thoughts are mostly positive, many people start a positive routine as soon as they wake in the morning and create momentum around thinking positively the entire day. In this episode, Dr. Chuck addresses how you can change your thinking and live with a more positive outlook.
October 25, 2020
The Fighter Pilot Part Two - Lessons Learned
To become a Fighter Combat Instructor, the Australian equivalent of a Top Gun Fighter Pilot is an amazing accomplishment and then to become a commercial pilot with one of the best airlines in the world was just the icing on the cake. His pathway through Airforce, then flying 747’s and A330’s brought this guest so much happiness he has taken the opportunity to use his experience and skills to mentor others. His lessons are not just lessons for future fighter pilots but lessons for anyone. It doesn’t matter whether you want to become a young person in business, a fire fighter, a doctor or whoever. The most important thing to recognize is that you are the one that one that controls mental wellbeing. Preparation, understanding of others (empathy), the willingness to ask for help and acceptance that we may well fail will be the key to getting back up and being a better and mentally more resilient person. This is a story of a man, who claims to be ordinary and through just hard work managed to climb to the top of his game, very inspirational story.
October 18, 2020
The Fighter Pilot
Becoming a Top Gun fighter pilot is not an easy task. If you're smart enough, strong enough, and have good enough eyes, then you just might be selected to be begin the training to become a fighter pilot. That's right; your journey is just beginning. Lots of testing to find someone who will make it into the Air Force, fighter aircrews have more advanced testing, like fitness tests that gauge whether a candidates body will be able to withstand the insane amount of G-forces a fighter pilot endures. Once you get through the first hurdle, the training and testing just keeps coming. This former Royal Australian Air Force Fighter Combat Instructor pilot empowers young listeners to just get started, and then keep going, keep working through every day as it comes and you will be rewarded with one of the most amazing careers you could ever imagine. He even throws in a firefighting ambition, a crash and a rescue to keep you entertained. Today, this fighter pilot is helping his homeland of Australia develop new technology to fight wild-land fires, 2019 was one of the most devastating fire seasons in history and this pilot is using his expertise with aircraft technology to help prepare the country for future fire seasons and help reduce the loss of life and property.
October 11, 2020
Eating your way to better mental health
Eating your way to better mental health: eat what ever makes you happy, along with a colorful variety of fruit & veggies.  It is well known that eating lots of fruit and vegetables is good for your physical health, but the latest research suggests that it might be good for your mental health too. A study from Australia found improvements in psychological well-being after some adjust their diets, consuming more fruits and vegetables.
October 05, 2020
The Stigma of Suicide, when is end of life acceptable.
Dr. Chuck challenges the opposite, when is it ok to take your own life? We now live in a cultural moment in which it seems safe for so many to be upfront about their mental health diagnoses, even Firefighters. This is unquestionably a good thing, but the flip side of reducing stigma by going public with one’s struggles is respecting others who choose not to do so. So many Firefighters choose not to share their mental health challenges and that is their choice and their right. Steve and Dr. Chuck discuss suicide, the stigma in the fire service and how Psychologists use faith and the belief system to help intervene when someone is struggling and may not want to admit they have a mental health illness.
September 28, 2020
Mindfulness - Change your story. Change your life.
Mindfulness is way of life, a type of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you're sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment. Practicing mindfulness involves breathing methods, creating a healthy story, and finding ways to relax the body and mind on a daily basis.
September 22, 2020
Talking about Men's Depression on The Sunday Night Health Show
Talking about Men's depression on The Sunday Night Health Show with Maureen Mcgrath and Dr. Kourosh Edalati. Understanding the difference between clinical and situational depression.
September 14, 2020
The Exhausted
Firefighters are just like anyone else. In fact, many firefighters do not eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and many are severely sleep deprived. The inability to fall asleep or get quality sleep contributes to the deadly heart conditions experienced by so many firefighters, and many start shifts with little or no sleep in the last 24 to 48 hours. Listen to our guest talk about his research into why firefighters have become sick, mentally and physically exhausted, and how the mental toll of the job and lack of sleep can affect a firefighters family and their careers.
September 07, 2020
The Rules of being human
Lessons of life - You will receive a body. You may like it or dislike it, but it will be yours for the entire duration of this time around. You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called life. Each day in this school, you will be presented with opportunities to learn lessons. You may choose to like the lessons or think them irrelevant or stupid. There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of experimentation, of trial and error. The “failed” experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiment that ultimately “works.” Each lesson is repeated until it is learned. A lesson is presented to you in a variety of forms, and as often as needed until, you have learned it. When you have learned it, you then go on to the next lesson. Learning lessons does not end. There is no part of life that does not contain its lessons. If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned. The person you were in the past is a prerequisite for you to become the person you are in the present. In this episode of 15 minutes with Dr. Chuck, we discuss how we became to be. How the lessons we had when we were young made us who we are as adults, and the spiritual thinking that surrounds our growth as human beings.
August 30, 2020
Understanding Anxiety with Dr. Chuck
15 Minutes with Dr. Chuck - Understanding Anxiety. Your ability to work as a firefighter with anxiety depends on the intensity and the triggers; firefighters will hide their symptoms from their peers and try to plow through troubled times rather than reach out for help.   Mild anxiety in a small number of situations might not be a problem if you can control the symptoms, but so many will go through their entire career without sharing with family and friends how they are feeling.  The problem becomes an issue when acute anxiety with panic attacks is so extreme that you can’t bring the situation under control, and you are now responding to very traumatic  events and are expected to perform under extremely stressful conditions.  You can’t risk becoming a liability in the middle of a stressful situation if it may mean lives are in danger, that is why it's so important to understand why this is happening. Learning how to control and understand anxiety should be taught on the first day of recruit training along with continued education through your entire career. In this episode, Dr. Chuck explains why we have anxiety and how to control it with a technique he developed when he was a Vietnam Vet. To ask Dr. Chuck a question for an upcoming podcast, please email your questions to
August 24, 2020
Firefighter Burnout - Fire Psychology with Dr. Chuck
More Firefighters died by suicide than in the line of duty last year.  Trauma and years of service have been indicators that have shown that firefighters can suffer from exhaustion and inability to focus while in a hyper vigilant frame of mind; the term is known as 'burnout'. Burnout is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.  The World Health Organization has stated that, “Burnout refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas."  Burnout is real, but what is it? Burnout includes intrusive symptoms (i.e. nightmares), avoidance behaviors (like pushing away a memory), negative thoughts and mood (including inability to experience positive emotions or detachment) and physiological changes (irritability, outbursts, lack of sleep, reckless).
August 17, 2020
The Power of Thinking - Fire Psychology with Dr. Chuck
Spirituality, Comradery and Tribalism in the Fire Service. The will to live; a concept we struggle to understand, and the need to awaken from our preconditioned self - get out of your subconscious mind and become more aware.  Asking yourself why are you here, what is your purpose in life.
August 10, 2020
Dr. Chuck - Faith - Anxiety - Making peace with your own mortality - Episode two
Dr. Chuck talks about spirituality and your relationship with God.  You can come to terms with your own mortality rather than worrying about it without resolving your feelings, or pushing off thinking about it until later. Instead,  just observe and acknowledge your thoughts and emotions, and just live for today. Mindful contemplative reflection can help calm you and control your anxiety, helping you take steps toward living your life to the fullest.
August 03, 2020
Dr. Chuck - PTSD - Firefighter Trauma - Suicide Intervention - Episode one
Dr. Chuck has been in the mental health field since 1972. He retired from the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in 2006, where he served as the Director of the Chronic Pain Clinic and Director of the PTSD Clinical Team. He serves on the Board of Advisors for Fire Service Psychology Association. In 2018 at the 1st Annual Conference, he presented on “Developing Effective Performance Improvement Plans”. In 2019 at the 2nd Annual Conference, he presented on “Conflict and Anger Management in the Fire Station”. Also, in 2019, he presented at the Western Pacific Islands Association of Fire Chiefs in Guam on “Demystifying Psychology in the Fire Service”. He started with South Metro Fire Rescue where he taught in their Officer’s Academy, was a member of the Peer Support Team and is currently an EAP consultant to Firefighters. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Denver. Visit:
July 30, 2020
Starting the conversation about suicide
Listen to a Mental Health Speaker who suffers from Chronic Suicidal Ideation, he was a writer for The Tonight Show for 20 years, is a Corporate Comedian, syndicated humor columnist, and podcast personality, who was featured on CNN's Business Unusual. Depression and suicide run his family. He's thought about killing himself more times than he can count. He's fought a lifetime battle with depression, and thoughts of ending his life, turning that long dark journey of the soul into a TED Talk, "A Matter of Laugh or Death,"
July 15, 2020
Change your mind - Change your world
A Doctor who has spent thirty years working with Veterans from Vietnam and the Middle East and now works with first repsonders, changing the way they think and helping them live a happier life. If you have ever found it hard to live in the now because you are worried about the future or chased by the past, you need to listen to this podcast.  The nature of our thoughts determine the quality of the life that we all live.  If your glass is half empty, you just need to find a way pour it into a smaller glass. 
July 12, 2020
Rock Bottom part II
Rock bottom is the worst place you may ever be in your life, but it is not the end. Our Guest continues to tell his story from Part 1 about his journey out of what he calls "Hell", and even though it cost him everything, he is now so happy and excited about what life has to offer.
July 05, 2020
Rock Bottom
Hitting rock bottom is the beginning of questioning everything that you've ever thought to be true and focusing on the mistakes you have made; you feel like you are a failure in every possible way. For some it will be the darkest place they will ever be. In this episode my guest is someone who has been there and explains how he survived it. If you have ever been there, you hear how this guest questioned his motives, other people's motives, his beliefs and how all his fears seemed to be coming true.
June 28, 2020
The shadows of addiction
Addiction does not discriminate. It can affect any individual regardless of age, race, and socioeconomic status. Firefighters, Police Officers, Doctors and Nurses can also battle the demons of addiction. It’s estimated that about 25 percent of all first responders struggle with some form of addiction, drugs and alcohol abuse. This is a story of one mans journey to the depths of addiction and coming out the other side, and dedicating his life to helping others.
June 21, 2020
The rookie
The fire service enters a new era. Starting your career in the fire service with the right attitude is key to a healthy career. Finding time to work on the mind as much as the body is something new firefighters are starting to focus on. With almost four years under his belt, this firefighter speaks candidly about the trials and tribulations he has experienced when dealing with the many levels within the fire service.
June 15, 2020
Critical Incident Stress Management
A fire department captain takes charge and creates a family assistance plan that not only helps first responders, but also assists their families during and after a post traumatic stress injury. This episode will help you understand how important it is for an employer to develop a program that supports an employee and their family when it comes to mental health issues.
June 08, 2020
Post Traumatic Stress Injury vs Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
A seasoned Fire Department Battalion Chief and former Vietnam Veteran explains how he recovered from Post Traumatic Stress Injuries while he was a Marine and an Incident Commander in the Fire Service.  This pioneer explains how he overcame trauma throughout his career, and how he has helped first responders understand the importance of clinical counselling.  
June 01, 2020
The changing of a culture - Part Two
Two firefighters continue to walk you through three decades of fire service evolution and the stigma around mental health.  First responders are struggling when it comes to burn out and associated health problems, such as sleep disorders, anxiety, depression and post traumatic stress injuries. These two firefighters bring the listener into the world of being a first responder by discussing the challenges that arise when one is exposed to trauma and the repercussions that follow if those experiences are not properly processed.
May 25, 2020
The changing of a culture
Two firefighters walking you through three decades of fire service evolution and the stigma around mental health.  First responders are struggling when it comes to burn out and associated health problems, such as sleep disorders, anxiety, depression and post traumatic stress injuries. These two firefighters bring the listener into the world of being a first responder by discussing the challenges that arise when one is exposed to trauma and the repercussions that follow if those experiences are not properly processed. 
May 18, 2020
Undercover Mental Health Podcasts
A podcast that promotes conversation about mental health and depression, breaking down the stigma. Some guests choose to not share their name or organization they work for, so they can talk openly and without judgment from others. The show is made up of first responders, doctors, nurses, and people who want a better understanding of what others are doing to break down the stigma in their organization.
December 02, 2019