Ontario adopts new PTSD strategy for first responders

The Ontario government has announced a new initiative that it hopes will prevent or mitigate the risk of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among first responders.
On Feb. 1, the labour ministry announced a new prevention strategy that will address PTSD in police, firefighters and paramedics — a group that the province says are at least twice as likely as the general population to suffer from traumatic stress on the job.

The new strategy will focus on prevention and measures to reduce stigma.

As part of that strategy, a radio and digital campaign will be launched to increase awareness and eliminate stigma attached to the disorder. Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn also said he would host an annual summit to highlight best practices and monitor progress in dealing with PTSD.

The strategy will also include grants for prevention research and a free online toolkit with resources tailored for employers in the sector.

“PTSD is a serious and debilitating injury. With appropriate resources and timely treatment, we know it can be prevented or mitigated. We’re acting today to ensure we support effective prevention for Ontario’s first responders,” Flynn said in a statement.

He added that legislative changes could be a possibility.

“We know the solution lies with a comprehensive approach which includes both preventative and legislative measures. I am proud to share the first piece of our strategy to deal with PTSD in our first responders that will seek to address current gaps and build on existing PTSD prevention activities currently underway across Ontario,” he said.