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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vernon beer baseball league expanding

Okanagan Spring League announces early-bird registration drive; adding new team from Kelowna

Vernon Vipers thump Merritt

BCHL: Win moves Vipers to within a point of third-place Wenatchee

Vernon basketball product’s college career ends in loss

Michael Rouault scores 23 points for TRU but team falls; sister’s squad also eliminated

Vernon Vipers entertain Merritt in Monday afternoon tilt

Vipers sit in fourth place in BCHL Interior Division, three points behind Wenatchee

Vernon Winter Carnival 60s theme a hit with residents

Milestone 60th anniversary Carnival wrapped up Sunday

Kelowna’s Family YMCA opens doors on Family Day

The entire day was free for the community

LETTER: Sick of narrow-minded response to homelessness in Vernon

Give Your Head A Shake, Vernon I have been reading lots of… Continue reading

Canucks acquire forward Tyler Toffoli from Kings in push for playoffs

Vancouver sends Schaller, Madden, pick to L.A.

South Okanagan woman reflects on prestigious win at Westminster dog show

“Polly” the Scottish deerhound was crowned best in breed and reserve best hound.

RCMP report woman arrested after ramming police cruiser

Suspect wanted for crimes allegedly committed in Kelowna, Salmon Arm and 100 Mile House

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

Wet’suwet’en and B.C. government have been talking Aboriginal title for a year

Coastal GasLink says it has agreements with all 20 elected First Nations councils along the 670-kilometre route

Trudeau tightlipped on plan to end protests ‘quickly and peacefully’

The prime minister, who cancelled a two-day trip to Barbados this week to deal with the crisis at home

B.C. budget expected to stay the course as economic growth moderates

Finance minister said ICBC costs have affected budget

Most Read