In honour of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month in June, CMHA Ontario is teaming up with the Ontario Provincial Police, Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, Ontario Association of Paramedic Chiefs, Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs, and Ontario’s Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management to bring attention to the mental health issues which First Responders may face.
First Responders operate in unique workplace environments, where they are more likely than the general population to encounter highly stressful situations. The experience of such situations can lead to the development of an Operational Stress Injury (OSI), a persistent psychological difficulty resulting from duties carried out on the job. PTSD is a type of OSI and can develop after an individual experiences or is exposed to a particularly stressful or traumatic event.
CMHA’s Mental Health Works (MHW) Program, which has a focus on OSI and PTSD, works with employers and employees to address mental health and addictions issues and promote workplace mental health. MHW has been adapted to support professionals in the justice sector including police officers, legal professionals, correctional employees and security professionals. A number of CMHA branches across the province also offer safeTALK and Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) workshops in their community. These courses are designed to help individuals recognize the warning signs indicating risk of suicide, as well as how to communicate with the person at risk and access help or resources for the person at risk.
For more information on workplace mental health resources available in your community, visit the MHW website or find your local CMHA branch. Join the conversation on OSIs and First Responders on social media with the hashtag #OSImatters.