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

Man sentenced for smuggling drugs and shooting at border guards

Nathan Hall was arrested in Abbotsford in 2013 after day-long manhunt

Developers to unveil plan to transform Aldergrove mall into new town centre

Community to find out new Aldergrove Town Centre plan for dormant 10-acre lot in heart of downtown.

Tensions mount over Abbotsford homeless camp removals amid cold snap

City calls camp removals a safety issue, advocates say actions risk health and safety of homeless

Abbotsford mom calls on PM to help bring home kids abducted to Lebanon

Shelley Beyak says her two children are Canadian citizens and should be protected

Honeybee farmers hope science can allow hives to thrive

Pesticides and globalization has threatened the 21st Century existence of honeybees

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

Girl heard saying ‘Help my Dad’ in suspicious radio message on Vancouver Island

Police asking for help following mysterious signals from somewhere between Comox and Sayward

Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

No treatment for highly infectious measles, says doctor

10 cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver as of Friday

Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

It brings the number of total cases within the city connected to the outbreak to ten

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

OPINION: Province to blame for lack of Highway 1 widening

“What’s the delay? The answer: the current provincial government” Abbotsford chamber president writes

Guards protest firing of fellow officers charged with assault at B.C. prison

Corrections officers demonstrated in Maple Ridge on Friday afternoon

Most Read