Two San Antonio Police Officers Advocate for Mental Health in New Podcast

click to enlarge Joe Smarro and Jesse Trevino - SOLUTIONPOINT +, LLC / INSTAGRAM
SolutionPoint +, LLC / Instagram
Joe Smarro and Jesse Trevino
As members of the San Antonio Police Department's Mental Health Unit, Joe Smarro and Jesse Trevino have worked on the front lines to reduce the use of force against vulnerable populations, instead connecting the mentally ill with the real help that they need. The two also run the company SolutionPoint+, through which they provide training in crisis intervention, deescalation and employee wellness to both first responders and private organizations.

Friends since they met in the United States Marine Corps, Smarro and Trevino
click to enlarge SOLUTIONPOINT +, LLC / FACEBOOK
SolutionPoint +, LLC / Facebook
 have launched a new venture to further their mission to reduce the stigma of mental illness: a podcast they're calling Truly Mental. They plan to share their perspectives on mental health both as law enforcement officers and as people, with a focus on mental wellness. A key issue for the two men is the rising rate of suicide in the U.S., which disproportionately affects first responders and veterans.

If Smarro's name sounds familiar, you may recognize him from the documentary Ernie & Joe, which showcases his and officer Ernie Stevens' work with the Mental Health Unit. The film received a "Special Jury Recognition for Empathy in Craft" when it premiered at SXSW this spring and has been picked up for distribution by HBO.

Smarro also gave a TEDxSanAntonio talk last December, in which he had no qualms speaking frankly about mental illness, opening up about being a survivor of childhood physical and sexual abuse and his diagnoses of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

In the first episode of Truly Mental, Smarro and Trevino provide background on themselves as well as discuss why they've decided to branch out into the extremely saturated world of podcasting. While they'll often cover heavy topics like suicide, they promise the podcast won't always be a downer.

"We are going to have a lot of levity," Trevino says.

Smarro and Trevino also look forward to the interactive possibilities the podcast will provide, allowing listeners to connect with them and voice questions or concerns that they can respond to on future episodes.

Trevino adds, "I think it's important not to just talk about it, but to talk about it in a specific way — in an honest conversation."

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