Paramedics welcomed the initiatives that the Ontario government announced Feb.1 to prevent post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but they feel it’s not enough. This disorder must be included as a work-related illness.
“I think paramedics across the province and first responders across the province have very serious doubts that prevention is the only answer,” said Dave Wakely, President of the Peel Paramedic Union.
Wakely says that the paramedics need assurances from the government. He explains that currently when a paramedic suffers PTSD he or she has to demonstrate that the trauma was inflicted while working, something that is often a battle for the individual.
He urges the government to create legislation that recognizes that first responders such as paramedics, firefighters or police officers could suffer PTSD because of their work.
The graphic below provides more information about PTSD.
According to the Center for Suicide Prevention, in Canada paramedics have the highest rate of PTSD among first responders.
At least 22 percent of all paramedics develop this illness.