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County emergency workers will get the support they need

Following a number of tragic deaths by suicide of Emergency Responders in Ontario, including the recent death of Staff Sargeant Ian Matthews in Hamilton December 18th 2013, Chief Murray Rodd has spoken out indicating that Peterborough Lakefield Community Police Service (PLCPS) will be taking steps to ensure their personnel receive the support they need to remain psychologically healthy on the job.

In January 2013, Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace Standards were released. The four main areas of consideration were risk mitigation, cost effectiveness, recruitment and retention and organizational excellence and sustainability.

The strategic pillars include prevention of harm, promotion of health, and resolution of incidents or concerns. All of these are values embraced by PLCPS.

Consequently, Chief Rodd, in collaboration with the PLCPS Health and Safety Committee and the Peterborough Police Association will be exploring training and other supports, to reduce the risk of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other occupational safety Hazards.

All emergency responders are daily faced with critical incidents involving violence, tragedy, death and risk of personal injury. Over time, these incidents have a culminating effect, and if left untreated, can have long term and sometimes devastating results.

The goal is to create a community that is suicide safe, supported by healthy emergency service workers.

As well, members of the Peterborough Fire Services and Peterborough County/City Paramedics will be in attendance and participating as we look at a collaborative program of training, education and risk reduction.

Talking about mental illness is the first step in breaking down the stigma that surrounds it.

One in five Canadians will experience some form of mental illness in their life time. However, almost 50 percent of people experiencing mental illness will never ask for help, due to stigma. Asking questions and an open dialogue is one of the best ways to educate people about the importance of mental health awareness and find the path to wellness and recovery.

Therefore, this press conference is being held jointly with the Canadian Mental Health Association Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge (CMHA HKPR) – as partners in creating a suicide safe community, both for our community members and those who serve to protect.

Hosting the Press Conference on Bell Let’s Talk Day aligns with CMHA’s goals of keeping the conversation going about mental health and breaking the stigma.

For more information please call PC Keith Calderwood at 705-876-1122 ext 217 or kcalderwood@peterborough.ca.

On Tuesday, Chief Rodd and representatives from the fire department and Peterborough EMS are holding a press conference to highlight the importance of creating a safe and suicide-free workplace. The services will be working with the local branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association to ensure firefighters, officers and paramedics are able to ask questions and ask for help without feeling stigmatized by mental illness.

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