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Feds launch PTSD action plan for public safety workers

Plan will support research, early intervention
| www.cos-mag.com

The Government of Canada has launched an action plan that aims to provide national leadership in supporting the mental health of public safety personnel. These workers include all front-line personnel who ensure the safety and security of Canadians across all jurisdictions, including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, firefighters, paramedics, correctional employees, border services personnel, operational and intelligence personnel, search and rescue personnel, Indigenous emergency managers and dispatch personnel. 

"We are working to better address the unique stresses and mental health challenges that front-line workers can face through exposure to traumatic events. This action plan signals the importance of improving our understanding of post-traumatic stress injuries through research, and of working together to help this dedicated community raise awareness, improve resiliency, fight stigma and improve the lives of all affected by post-traumatic stress,” said Minister of Health Ginette Petitpas Taylor.

Supporting Canada's Public Safety Personnel: An Action Plan on Post-Traumatic Stress Injuries will support research, prevention, early intervention, stigma-reduction, care and treatment for all types of public safety personnel, all across the country. It was developed based on consultations with public safety organizations, other levels of government, academia, union representatives, mental health professionals and non-governmental organizations.

Various unions have applauded the action plan, including the Canadian Police Association.

"There's no doubt front-line police personnel are disproportionately affected by mental health challenges, not just as a result of the work they do, but also from the stress and anxiety caused by significant organizational issues, including staffing and lack of resources, which have a long-term impact,” said Tom Stamatakis, president of the Canadian Police Association. “Police associations have been successful in securing presumptive legislation, and bargaining increased mental health benefits into collective agreements, but having the federal government play a leadership role will help coordinate these efforts and ensure that the health and well-being of our members is front and centre."

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