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
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.
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."