Northumberland paramedics now have another resource with which to address mental health issues, thanks to a new partnership with Wounded Warriors Canada.
The partnership, announced by Northumberland County and Northumberland paramedics on Wednesday, will provide emergency medical personnel with direct access to core programs funded and facilitated through Wounded Warriors Canada.
Wounded Warriors is a registered charity that offers services focusing on mental health and wellness in the face of workplace-related trauma. Originally launched in 2007 to support military members, veterans and their families, the charity expanded support to first-responders a few years ago.
Some of the programs to be offered to Northumberland paramedics include a trauma-resiliency program, a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) service dog program, couples-based equine therapy and a program called Couples Overcoming PTSD Everyday.
Before Operational Stress (BOS) training is also offered, which includes theoretical, practical and experiential learning that is designed to help participants build resiliency and enhance their mental health.
“Our first responders face unique pressures while serving our community and supporting residents in their times of need,” acting county warden Bob Sanderson said.
He added: “We are very pleased that, through this partnership, Northumberland paramedics will have access to innovative programming that is specifically tailored to assist first responders affected by operational stress and the family members who support them.”
Wounded Warriors Canada executive director Scott Maxwell says his organization is also proud to partner with Northumberland paramedics.
“When a first responder is struggling, it doesn’t matter where, when or how their injury occurred; what matters is that the members and their families know that we are in this together — working to ensure they receive the mental health care they so rightly deserve,” he said.
Northumberland County says it offers all employees a “robust” program of mental health and wellness supports and that the partnership is another program through which to support workers.
“It is important that our staff is well supported with programs and policies that meet the varying needs of our team,” Northumberland paramedics Chief Bill Detlor said.
“This partnership with Wounded Warriors Canada is another opportunity to strengthen the support system in place for our paramedic team by providing insightful education and information related to preserving mental health when responding to the unique demands of this profession and recovering from trauma.”
WATCH (March 2019): Kawartha Lakes first responders discuss PTSD