The province is investing $250,000 in mental health and addictions programming for paramedics and other first responders.

The money will be used by the Saskatchewan Health Authority for ongoing mental health for both public and private EMS providers. It will also include training for two critical incident support teams and nine peer support teams, the province says.

“We have made it a health system priority to improve mental health services for all Saskatchewan citizens, including paramedics,” Rural and Remote Health Minister Greg Ottenbreit said in a news release. “We recognize that EMS providers and volunteer medical first responders are on the frontlines of medical care and are exposed to a high number of stressful situations. This funding will help to set up supports that best address their mental health needs.”

The funding announcement was made by Ottenbreit at the Saskatchewan Emergency Medical Services Association’s annual convention.

“As we grow into one provincial EMS entity, we will promote a culture that supports, recognizes, and responds effectively to colleagues in need,” Corey Miller, Saskatchewan Health Authority vice president of provincial programs, said in a release. “This investment by the Ministry of Health will allow us to create and train peer support and critical incident teams within EMS as well as offer resiliency-based education. We are excited to move forward with our plans to strengthen our paramedics’ resiliency on a day-to-day basis and into the future of EMS in Saskatchewan.”

The province says it has a 10-year mental health and addictions plan to guide and prioritize funding in Saskatchewan.

This year’s budget provides a record $402 million to mental health and addictions funding.

The province is marking Mental Health Week May 6 to 12.