Thirty per cent of B.C. paramedics have personally considered suicide.
And 97 per cent of paramedics and dispatchers said they need mental health support for traumatic calls over their career.
Those statistics are from a recent survey by the Paramedic Association of Canada.
BC Ambulance Supervisor Robert Parkinson says it may be time to look at how the Justice Institute trains paramedics to deal with work stress.
“That’s an opportunity where you can change the education and start it early on to help people identify when they are going into those issues and they are being affected to help them understand where the support is. The hard group to capture is the current group in the workforce. And we need employers to address those issues.”
Parkinson says the union representing BC paramedics is asking for easier access to mental health support.
For paramedics to access support through WorkSafe BC, a PTSD diagnosis is needed with at least one specific traumatic incident or a series of significant stressors over the course of employment.
- 97% said paramedics and dispatchers need support for cumulative impact of multiple traumatic
calls over career
- 94% said paramedics and dispatchers need support for other mental health issues such as
depression and anxiety
- 66% said they knew of another paramedic who at some time contemplated suicide
- 30% said they have personally considered suicide
So far no comment from the Justice Institute.