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

Starry Nights purchases $16,000 Nordic wellness chair for long-term care centre

The chair reclines, rocks, plays music, and has programs for relaxation, anxiety and restlessness

Canim Lake Band native discovers passion for pow wow regalia

‘It’s a spiritual gift and every child should have the opportunity to dance’

Easter Egg Hunt returns to 100 Mile House

The 100 Mile Free Press and Canlan Sports team up for chocolate egg hunt

Historic building in Alexis Creek destroyed by fire overnight

“If it hadn’t been a heavy rain last night we could have lost many houses in the area”

Mile 108 Elementary myth busters take home awards at Cariboo Mainline Regional Science Fair

Kaitlyn Piccolo won awards for her project, which tested how music affects the plant growing process

Sri Lanka invokes war-time military powers after nearly 300 killed in Easter bombings

Sri Lanka’s minister of tourism says 39 foreign tourists were killed in the Easter Sunday attacks

Bodies of 3 mountain climbers recovered after last week’s Banff avalanche

The men disappeared while attempting to climb the east face of Howse Peak in the Icefields Parkway

Happy birthday: Queen Elizabeth II turns 93 on Easter Sunday

Sunday is the first of two birthday celebrations each year for the queen

RCMP confirm witnesses say body found at Kelowna’s Gyro Beach

Police tape is blocking part of the beach and several RCMP officers are on scene.

B.C. fire department rescues kittens

Enderby homeowner not aware kittens in wood pile near garbage pile fire that got out of hand

QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Take this short quiz and put your knowledge to the test

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

Global Affairs warns Canadians in Sri Lanka there could be more attacks

A series of bomb blasts killed at least 207 people and injured hundreds more

Most Read