B.C. first-responders experience traumas and stressors on the job unlike those of almost any other occupation. The added stress of being essential workers during COVID-19 highlights the importance of caring for our mental health more than ever before.

Research has long shown that first-responders are at a higher risk of mental-health injuries and, at the same time, the stigma surrounding mental health in their workplaces can be a serious obstacle to getting help.

In 2019, 5,440 new mental-health-disorder claims were reported to WorkSafeBC. Of those, 173 were from front-line workers, including paramedics, police officers, firefighters and correctional officers. It’s a statistic that continues to rise among first-responders, and it requires that we have difficult but important conversations.

It benefits all of us to support a proactive approach to mental health and wellness for these essential workers because while they’re helping us, we must ensure that they, too, are being supported.  — Trudi Rondou, chairwoman of the B.C. First Responders Mental Health Committee

In the past year, first-responders have been forced to keep up with constantly changing practices in response to the pandemic. In what was already a high-pressure, high risk environment, they have had to adapt to a completely new way of doing their jobs — donning full PPE with each encounter to protect them from the heightened risk of contracting COVID-19.  Read the rest of this article at The Vancouver Sun…

Image: With the pandemic still front-and-centre, alongside the opioid addiction and overdose crisis, in our communities, first-responders remain a lifeline for all British Columbians. JONATHAN HAYWARD /THE CANADIAN PRESS