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'I want to be healthy': First responder pushing for improved mental health care
Published Wednesday, August 29, 2018 5:44PM CST
Last Updated Wednesday, August 29, 2018 6:41PM CST
A Regina first responder is sharing his personal journey with mental health in order to help push for better support for people working on the front lines.
In the wake of one emergency responder’s suicide, there is a call for more awareness for post-traumatic stress disorder.
After years of responding to emergency calls as a paramedic, an incident last summer forced Joshua Mamela to deal with an internal battle.
"I was on a car accident scene last summer and a drunk driver blew through it and nearly hit me,” Mamela told CTV News. “I just froze and that was my tipping point where everything just came up and started hitting me like a ton of bricks. And since then I've been battling with PTSD and trying to get healthy and get my mental health better."
Since 2015, three emergency service workers in the province have taken their own lives. The Saskatchewan Emergency Medical Services Association says the push for increased support needs to continue.
“It is definitely relevant for us to keep that at the forefront and we are going to continue to work to strengthen the support and the resources that are in the province and available for the paramedics.”
Mamela says he plans to continue working as a paramedic. He told CTV News he wanted to share his story in the hope of starting a dialogue to help keep others from fighting the battle in silence.
“I want to be healthy, I want to be here for a long time and I don’t want to turn to the substance abuse or that statistic that when you’re done, you turn into an alcoholic or a drug addict, or in the worst case scenario end up taking your life.”
Mamela also says he’s willing to listen to anyone in hopes of avoiding another tragic ending.