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New standard to help paramedics deal with mental health issues

Paramedics dealing with PTSD or other mental illnesses will be getting more help from their employers thanks to the new standards.
2018-03-15 - AB  - Ottawa-Paramedic-Service

Paramedics deal with injuries and death on a daily basis, and to help them deal with the traumatic things they see every day, a new standard for psychological health and safety will now be used across the country. 

Pierre Poirier, Executive Director of the Paramedic Association of Canada explained that this system will help the more than 40,000 paramedics in Canada providing a guideline for building up a resilience or recognizing when a trauma impacts someone. 

"With the horrific incidents that have happened recently, Humboldt and Toronto earlier this week, there really is a significant impact that is place upon those individual first responders," said Poirier. "Uniquely for paramedics because we see things that not everyone will see." 

The new standards will help paramedics and their employers raise awareness of associated stigma, self-stigma and harassment along with identifying the sources of stress and psychological hazards. 

Poirier explained that paramedics are uniquely exposed to trauma and it impacts them. 

"A broken bone is kind of visual and tangible but to see somebody that is harmed by their work in a mental sense is very difficult to see."

Poirier said that great strides have been made when it comes to erasing the stigma that comes along with mental illness and that more and more paramedics are speaking to their peers about their struggles. 

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