FREDERICTON, N.B. – The Paramedic Association of Canada is trying to find out how prevalent mental illness is among paramedics.
They’re using a survey to measure mental health among their members, and the results are shocking.
“We’re seeing upwards of 27-28 per cent of the paramedics in the country who have responded to the survey saying they have contemplated suicide in the past,” said Chris Hood, Executive Director of the New Brunswick Paramedics Association.
Hood says the recent tragic death of RCMP Cpl. Ron Francis, could encourage others to seek help.
“If anything good can come out of something as tragic as that, then taking the necessary steps to highlight it and to bring the assistance to people is obviously something good that can come out of it,” Hood said.
“We didn’t realize, I don’t think the country realized, how bad it was until we started to see the increase in suicides.”
Paramedic Denny Cogswell says stress associated with his work is always there.
“It all affects even though everybody tends to believe it’s the bigger trauma calls,” he said. “I think it all takes a toll on our members.”
He’s been a paramedic for 24 years. In that time, he’s leaned on friends and family to deal with the stress. He hopes the survey shows that members are not in it alone.
“Obviously we fear for all of the ones who are suffering in silence who aren’t coming forward.”