Paramedics face stressful situations on a daily basis. (Fred Gagnon/CBC)

Paramedics’ psychological health and safety addressed

This week’s van attack in Toronto makes one wonder how stressful it is for first responders to answer emergencies.

Mental disorders more prevalent

The diagnosis of mental disorders among public safety personnel is four times higher than the general population and paramedics are particularly affected. For the first time, a new health and safety standard has been released to address the specific needs of paramedics.

There are more than 40,000 paramedics in Canada and they face daily challenges caused by shift work, extended work days, intense psychological stress and trauma, exposure to disease and work environments involving such things as fire, explosions and violent situations.

There are many sources of stress that can affect a paramedic’s psychological health. (CBC)

Standard will identify hazards

The standard promises to offer workers and employers guidance for developing and maintaining a psychologically healthy and safe workplace. Specifically, it is designed to raise awareness of associated stigma and harassment, identify sources of stress and psychological hazards, and find ways to address those hazards.

The standard was commissioned by the Paramedic Association of Canada and developed with funding from the province of Ontario’s Occupational Health, Safety and Prevention Innovation Program.

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