Share It. Don’t Wear It campaign posters by the B.C. First Responders’ Mental Health Committee (poster handout)

350 B.C. first responders to gather and talk about their mental health

The first-of-its-kind conference is being led by the B.C. First Responders’ Mental Health Committee

More than 300 first responders from across the province will be in Richmond next week to talk about their mental health.

Over a two-day conference, police officers, firefighters, paramedics and dispatchers along with government representatives, mental-health professionals and researchers will discuss the occupational traumas and stressors that are unique to emergency response work.

The first-of-its-kind conference is being led by the B.C. First Responders’ Mental Health Committee, which is chaired by WorkSafeBC.

The committee was formed in response to a growing concern by emergency responders over a lack of central supports and resources in all regions of B.C.

READ MORE: B.C. nurses rally over inclusion in PTSD bill

READ MORE: B.C. first responders to get better mental health support

Twenty-two first responders died by suicide in 2018, according to Your Are Not Alone PTSD BC, an organization that has been tracking these deaths since 2015. Data collected by the group is based solely on self-reporting by families of emergency responders.

The conference comes nearly eight months after the province announced amendments to the Workers Compensation Act, adding post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental injuries to a list of “presumptive conditions,” no longer requiring workers to prove their disease or disorder is work-related.

LISTEN: First responders share struggles with adversity in new Delta Police podcast

Advocates were quick to celebrate the move, calling it a “good start” in supporting emergency workers and preventing tragedy.

The conference, which runs Jan. 31 to Feb 1, is one of five goals the committee has set to achieve in the 2018-19 year.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Contempt charge against Balfour logging protesters dropped on technicality

A B.C. Supreme Court justice ruled Cooper Creek Cedar failed to file a contempt application

Developer offers details for former Kerr Apartment site

Wayne Woodward is planning a five-storey building on Victoria Street

Jail time for driver involved in Castlegar road rampage

Sean Patrick Byrne caused havoc on Castlegar roads in November

UPDATED: Meth possession charges considered after car rolls off Nelson highway

Vehicle landed beside the Rosemont pedestrian trail

Kootenay Lake’s first marine waste pump-out opens

Sewage facility is located at the Prestige marina

Disney Plus to launch in Canada in November

Analysts say latest streaming service may escalate cord cutting

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

Okanagan bus driver assaulted for asking patron not to smoke

59-year-old in hospital with non-life threatening injuries

B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

Larger operating areas seen as threat by cab companies

Two hiking families team up to extinguish fire in B.C. backcountry

Children and their parents worked for three hours to ensure safety of the popular hiking region

Vancouver man arrested after pregnant woman’s SUV stolen, then crashed

Police are recommending charges against a 22-year-old Vancouver man

Elections Canada to assess ‘partisan’ climate change rhetoric case by case

People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier has said climate change is not an emergency nor caused by human

Unseasonable snow forces campers out of northeastern B.C. provincial park

Storm brought as much as 35 centimetres of snow to the Fort Nelson, Muncho Lake Park-Stone Mountain Park

Most Read