Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affects approximately 30% of all First Responders, according to the RCMP study (www.rcmpstudy.com). The Ministry of Ontario’s Labour Board has stated that Emergency Service Workers are at least twice as likely as the general population to suffer from PTSD, due to the risk of routine exposure to traumatic stressors. PTSD is a mental illness that involves symptoms such as reliving a psychologically traumatic situation long after any physical danger involved has passed. The degree of severity varies from individual to individual. Other serious and related mental health issues such as anxiety and major depression are just as debilitating.
We have identified the need for occupational specific treatment for these workers because they often struggle with the psychological effects that the job and its culture can have on the individual due to exposure to traumatic/critical incidents. COVID-19 is a new example of the type of job related stress faced by uniform personnel. Results can include development of conditions such as operational stress injury, compassion fatigue, decreased stress tolerance, depression, anxiety and other serious mental health issues such as PTSD.
The Haven will be the first non-profit, inpatient treatment centre exclusive to First Responders and Uniform Personnel in the province. It will provide access to treatment in an efficient manner, eliminate barriers to timely treatment access and stigma in both official languages. It will address and treat the individual from a holistic approach with evidence-based programming. This includes offering preventative and reintegration programs with the goal of trying to reduce future illness, increase quality of life and relationships and decrease the rates of workplace liability and absenteeism. As well, the program will offer inpatient treatment programs for the most serious of ailments, with outstanding post-treatment support for ultimate success of reintegration back into the family unit and the workplace.
‘First Responders and Uniform Personnel’ includes, Fire Fighters, Paramedics, Police Officers, Dispatchers, Correctional Services, Special Constables, Border Service Officers, Emergency room staff (physicians, nurses) and social workers, Military Personnel and their family members.
Our key leaders have had personal experiences whereby, First Responders as friends and colleagues have died by suicide. It is their passion and dedication to providing culturespecific/appropriate treatment and services. They hope to enable workers to return to their families and workplace as whole and healthy as they can be, equipped with the necessary tools to
work through their mental health challenges.
We are excited and honoured to have the opportunity to be able to discuss how you may support the vision for The Haven.