If you are thinking about suicide, or you’re worried about someone else, there is help and there is hope. Call or text 9-8-8 toll free, any time — lines are open 24/7/365. To learn more about 9-8-8 visit their website.

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Preventing Suicide for First Responders

As first responders are the first to arrive to an emergency situation, this job results in seeing tragic or traumatic events. Therefore, many first responders experience post traumatic stress disorders and other mental health issues such as depression and anxiety due to the nature of their work. Listed below are several resources to help us understand suicide among first responders and how to prevent it.

Fact Sheet: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

This 4-page resource clearly outlines what symptoms need to be present to be diagnosed with PTSD. Clarification is provided on some of the common misconceptions of PTSD and what treatment can look like. Additional resources are listed for further information.

First Responder Fact Sheet Poster

This 1-page fact sheet provides some information on the impact PTSD is having on first Responders in Canada. Warning signs and what you can do to help someone with PTSD are included.

Presumptive Benefits for PTSD: What Workers and Employers Need To Know

This 2-page resource provides information on how to make a WCB claim if you feel you are experiencing PTSD. The second page includes some common Q&A about making a WCB claim if you are experiencing PTSD.

Supporting First Responders

This 3-page resource provides a definition of PTSD and how can be considered an Operational Stress Injury for First Responders. PTSD symptoms are further described as four types: Intrusive Memories; Avoidance and Numbing; Negative Thoughts and Mood Changes; and Changes in Physical and Emotional reactions. A chart offers actions you can take for prevention, intervention and treatment and recovery.

The Many Faces Of PTSD

This 4-page resource describes how anyone can experience PTSD, why some people are more likely to experience PTSD and why some are more resilient, as well as the common symptoms. A brief story is shared about one person’s experience with PTSD. A chart provides you with some information on how PTSD may be affecting your work and strategies to help cope with PTSD.

Trafalgar Local Heros Support Program

Trafalgar Addiction Treatment Centres is an experienced and accredited provider of Addiction and Mental Health treatment in Canada. We have an intensive individualized approach focusing on Concurrent disorders. We have a trauma-informed clinic and a proven model to treat First Responders for addiction and mental health issues.

A Guide For Early Responders Supporting Survivors Bereaved By Suicide

This 20-page guide offers information about suicide loss and will likely validate and enhance the many helpful things that first Responders already do. The guide may also offer new insights and guidance on suicide alertness highlighting prevention and intervention resources available, since the survivors may be at greater risk of suicide as well.

Clinician’s Guide To Suicide Risk Assessment And Management 

This document was developed to provide clinicians with a comprehensive guide to expand their clinical understanding of suicide risk assessment and management. Clinicians are encouraged to update their knowledge and continue to review the new literature and study other educational or competency enriching materials to improve their clinical understanding of suicide risk assessment and management.

First Responders First: PTSD Resource ToolKit

This website offers resources and services for the First Responder community to understand the various steps of a PTSD program from managing a crisis through to implementing best practices into an existing program.

First Responder Peer Trauma Support System

This 17-page toolkit provides organizations guidance in creating, training and maintaining a peer support group for their First Responders.

National Fallen Firefighters Association – Fire Service Behavioral Health Management Guide

This 36-page guide seeks to help fire departments in the process by providing guidance and considerations culled from the experience of fire departments across the country. The guide pulls from the experiences of departments of all sizes, response needs, and demographics. It is not an A-Z guide for setting up an effective behavioural health program but is designed to help departments understand where to start and what considerations need to be addressed through the lens of an individual department’s situation.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and War-Related Stress

A 19-page document from Veterans Canada describes what is PTSD, a traumatic event, common symptoms, why these symptoms develop, associated problems, how to cope with PTSD, and types of therapy.

Supporting Mental Health in First Responders: Recommended Practices

A steering committee consisting of representatives from fire, police, and paramedic services is working with WorkSafeBC to promote positive mental health and reduce work-related mental health injuries to address the psychological health needs of first responders in British Columbia. They have developed a 24-page tool kit of recommended practices and resources for employers, supervisors, and workers to support mental health in the workplace.

Canada’s Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines – New Tools for Professionals

This webinar provides a brief overview of the evidence-based Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines (LRCUG) introduce new tools created by PHAC and CAMH to support professionals using the guidelines offer guidance on presenting the recommendations in different settings and on responding to common questions about the guidelines.

First Aid for Attempted Suicide

This website offer first-aid recommendations for each of the most common methods of attempted suicide. Each case is unique, and it is essential to tailor your care and support to that person’s needs.

10-4  Music Video

“10-4” is a music video dedicated to all first responders, giving us all permission to make the call and ask for help if we need to. Made by Maria Constandinou, a 911 ambulance dispatcher in Kingston, ON Canada in collaboration with dedicated artists, coworkers, friends, and family. “10-4” is a quick way to say “I understand” or “I acknowledge” when communicating using radios. As a dispatcher, I give a new call to paramedics with all kinds of information like an address and nature of the call, and they say “10-4” to state they understood all the details. We could be saying “10-4” call after call, day after day, but be in pain without anyone knowing the battles we could be facing within ourselves.

A Doctor’s Quest to Understand Why so Many Physicians Die by Suicide

This quick article outlines a doctor who has made it her mission to find out how many doctors are dying by suicide after she loses many of her colleagues. A survey from 2018 found that one in three physicians experience signs of depression. This article also contains a link to a video with more information.

An E–Mental Health Solution to Prevent and Manage Post Traumatic Stress Injuries Among First Responders in Alberta

First responders are confronted with traumatic events in their work that has a substantial toll on their psychological health and may contribute to or result in post traumatic stress injuries (PTSIs) for many responders. Persons with a PTSI usually seek management therapies. Evidence indicates that digital delivery of these therapies is an innovative, efficient, and effective way to improve PTSI symptoms as an adjunct to in-person delivery. This research will be beneficial for practitioners and will inform policy-making and decision-making regarding psychological interventions for PTSI. Lessons from this study will inform the scale-up of the intervention, a cost-effective, zero contact therapeutic option to manage PTSI.

Identification of Novel Genome-Wide Associations For Suicidality in UK Biobank, Genetic Correlation With Psychiatric Disorders And Polygenic Association With Completed Suicide

Suicide is a major issue for global public health. Suicidality describes a broad spectrum of thoughts and behaviours, some of which are common in the general population. Although suicide results from a complex interaction of multiple social and psychological factors, predisposition to suicidality is at least partly genetic. The goals of this study were to identify genetic variants associated with broadly-defined suicidality in 122,935 participants of the UK Biobank cohort; to assess for genetic correlations between suicidality and a range of psychiatric disorders; and to determine whether increased genetic burden for suicidality was associated with both psychiatric disorders and completed suicide in a non-overlapping sample.

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