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

District offers safety tips after cougar spotted near Lake Country school

The animal was seen on a walking trail near Peter Greer Elementary Saturday morning

Emergency crews rush youth to hospital after quadding accident in West Kelowna

West Kelowna Fire Rescue’s new off-road vehicle was used in the rescue

Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for Okanagan, Shuswap

Environment Canada is forecasting strong wind gusts, large hail and heavy downpours in parts of the Interior

WorkSafe BC conducted 70 inspections in the Okanagan amid B.C.’s reopening plan

WorkSafe BC has conducted 100 inspections at restaurants across the province since May 19

West Kelowna reopens beach volleyball, new pickleball courts

The City of West Kelowna is asking residents to maintain safe distancing

11 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. as top doc urges caution amid ‘encouraging’ low rates

Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced that two care home outbreaks would be declared over

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Partial return to class for Central Okanagan students: COVID-19

School District 23 and the Board of Education have released a letter regarding returning to class

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Similkameen winery co-owned by Dr. Bonnie Henry

B.C.’s provincial health officer is part of the original ownership group of Clos du Soleil in Keremeos

Shuswap man reported missing by RCMP has been found unharmed

Salmon Arm resident apologizes for having caused anyone concern

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

Most Read