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Moose Jaw paramedic, musician shines light on mental health in new song

Singing Moose Jaw paramedic has message on mental health
WATCH: Moose Jaw paramedic Nicholas Hennink addresses the impact of social isolation in a song.

A Moose Jaw, Sask., paramedic is using his voice to share a powerful message about mental health.

In his latest song I am strong, Nicholas Hennink addresses the impact of social isolation, especially for first responders and those dealing with addictions.

It’s an issue he said is all too familiar with as society continues to navigate the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re told to self-isolate, which is fantastic…but for people with addictions, it’s also detrimental to their health. So, hopefully this song can give them hope,” Hennink said.

Read more: Moose Jaw paramedic uses music to help first responders

Throughout his 16-plus year career as an advanced-care paramedic, Hennink has been dealing with his own addiction and was eventually diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

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“I struggle with PTSD, I struggle with an alcohol addiction as well. I’ve been to rehab three times, so I do understand the whole mental health issue and the addiction aspect of it,” Hennink said.

“I’ve noticed in my own recovery community, there’s been multiple relapses because of this. People struggling with mental illnesses — it’s increased.”

Hennink is now a mental health activist, and looks to be an inspiration to others.

“Hearing somebody that has struggled say, ‘I’ve done it, you can do it?’ There’s power in that message,” Hennink said.

As a paramedic, Hennink said he understands the stresses of being an emergency responder, especially at a time like this.

Read more: ‘I’ve been in that dark place’: N.S. man receiving national award for PTSD podcast

“The song is dedicated to those struggling during this very difficult time. It’s for our first responders fighting for us and sacrificing for us on the front lines,” Hennink said.

He said one of the most important messages to find in his new song is to seek help.

“You’re not alone. There are people out there that are dealing with exactly the same thing — a lot of people,” Hennink said.

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“To be honest, in the beginning I was too scared to come forward. I was one of those people struck by the stigma.

“Reaching out has been the best thing for me. I’ve created communities, have friends to support me and that can be the same situation for you if you’re struggling.”

Nennink said any profits made from the song will be donated to charities that help first responders or those with mental illnesses.

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