Not enough support for emergency workers, advocates say after suicide of Sask. paramedic
Published Friday, August 24, 2018 4:03PM CST
Last Updated Friday, August 24, 2018 6:45PM CST
Paramedics in Saskatchewan are mourning one of their own after an emergency medical technician took their own life on Wednesday.
Flags at Regina Qu’Appelle Health building were lowered to half-mast in recognition.
Few details have been released about the paramedic, but the Saskatchewan Emergency Medical Services Association, this is the third or fourth suicide in the province in the past few years.
A spokesperson for Wounded Warriors says there is not enough support for emergency responders.
"There is a way that we can change this. We got to make more clinically facilitated trauma based mental health programs available,” Wounded Warriors Canada Executive Director Scott Maxwell said.
Other emergency responders say that the impacts of the job can be long lasting, and different people handle the stresses in different ways.
"With all of that awareness, and it's so much better than it was in years past. Sometimes it's still not enough," said Elizabeth Popowich of the Regina Police Service.
"There's no opportunity for them to prepare for what they're about to see, and i think they're exposed to trauma unlike any other medical profession because of that... I think there are opportunities to provide support; I think that society in general needs to start seeing people that are exposed to trauma as wounded," Saskatchewan College of Paramedics Executive Director Jacquie Messer-Lepage said.
In March, the federal government announced $30M for post-traumatic stress research for public safety personnel.
Federal Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale says a national plan to address mental health issues with first responders is in the works.