Committee report on PTSD hits mark

Study notes 10 to 35 per cent of first responders will need mental health, PTSD support

To the editor:

On Oct. 4, the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security released a report calling on the federal Liberal government to introduce a plan of action for public safety officers and first responders dealing with mental-health issues and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

According to the all-party committee study, between 10 and 35 per cent of first responders will develop PTSD at some point in their lives.

These numbers are significant, and action needs to be taken immediately to help address an issue that affects Canadians from coast-to-coast-to coast.

Last January, I introduced Private Members Bill C-211, which seeks to establish a national, comprehensive federal framework to address the challenges of recognizing the symptoms and providing timely diagnosis and treatment of PTSD for all veterans and first responders.

Since introducing Bill C-211, my office has been inundated with calls and e-mails from firefighters, first responders, military personnel, and corrections and police officers.

These brave men and women face many dangers in their day-to-day duties, including protecting the lives and property of their fellow citizens and our nation’s critical infrastructure.

They are our silent sentinels.

Only through bi-partisan support and co-operation can we hope to achieve effective and viable strategies to ensure those in need receive direct and timely access to PTSD support.

I hope all members of Parliament will join me in supporting Bill C-211 when it comes to the floor of the House of Commons.

Todd Doherty, MP

Cariboo-Prince George

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