Operational Stress Injuries Higher Than Expected Among First Responders In Canada's First National Survey
Results from Canada's first national survey looking at operational stress injuries among first responders have revealed significantly higher than expected rates of reported mental health symptoms, and significantly higher rates than that of the general population.
The research was conducted online between September 2016 to January 2017. Results were published in The Journal of Psychiatry. Of the 5,813 participants, 44.5% "screened positive for clinically significant symptom clusters consistent with one or more mental disorders." Statistics Canada has reported the rate for the general population to be 10%
Additional findings from the research include the observation that symptoms of operational stress injury appears to increase with more years of service and more exposure to traumatic events. It also appeared that working in isolated areas may increase the likelihood of developing symptoms.
Tom Stamatakis, president of the Canadian Police Association said that the research corroborates what he has suspected all along. "We've had in my view in recent years, more and more suicides, more and more police officers unable to work due to mental health disorders" he told CBC news. Moving forward, Stamatakis said the challenge will be to ensure all first responders have access to the right supports, no matter where they live.
From CBC News Article posted August 30, 2017
Link to the entire research paper here
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Learn more about operational stress injuries and frontline and first responders at our upcoming training: Recognizing and Responding to PTSD in Frontline and First Responders October 13th, 9-4 Hanover, ON Early bird registration ends October 1st!
Dr. Chris Blodgett is a clinical psychologist at Washington State University. He was familiar with the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) research, which revealed a graded relationship between early ACEs and later life psychological and medical challenges. He wondered what effects ACEs had on people who were still young. Dr. Blodgett and his team conducted research on the ACEs within Washington State schools.
In one study involving adolescents in grade 10, Dr. Blodgett and his team looked at the prevalence of ACEs.
It was concluded that out of classroom of 30 students, you would see:
6 students with no ACE
5 students with 1 ACE
6 students with 2 ACEs
3 students with 3 ACEs
7 students with 4-5 ACEs
3 students with 6 or more ACEs
In another study involving a review of ACEs across nine elementary schools, Dr Blodgett concluded:
1. Adverse events are the greatest single predictor for health, attendance and behaviour
2. Adverse events are the second strongest predictor for academic failure (after special education status)
3. The relationship between academic achievement and health status appears much less related to income then to adverse events
4. Trauma is the most prevalent policy issue today
The good news is that we understand more about the impact of developmental trauma than we ever have before. The ACE research can provide a context to understand the challenges inform how we intervene and the concept of developmental trauma
Learn more about Dr. Chris Blodgett and his research here
Read more about trauma informed schools and how they are Teaching Traumatized Kids
In the late 1990’s researchers (Felitti et al., 1998) at the Center for Disease Control – Kaiser Permanente discovered, initially quite by accident, that adverse childhood experiences were more common than previously thought and that such experiences were correlated with risks for later life social and health problems. In fact, they proposed that childhood maltreatment was the leading cause of preventable mental illness. Although it has taken time for this research to become recognized, the findings have resonated with those working in community services – mental health, child welfare, education, probation & parole, to name a few. Understanding the impact of complex or developmental trauma informs how we can change the trauma trajectory. We understand more now than we ever did before about how to support individuals, families, and communities impacted by ACES.
Felitti, V., Anda, R., Nordenberg, D., Williamson, D., Spitz, A., Edwards, V., Koss, M., and Marks, J., Relationship of Childhood Abuse and Household Dysfunction to Many of the Leading Causes of Death in Adults, American Journal of Preventive Medicine in 1998, Volume 14, pages 245–258.
More detailed information about the study can be found in “Relationship of Childhood Abuse and Household Dysfunction to Many of the Leading Causes of Death in Adults,” published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine in 1998, Volume 14, pages 245–258.
Learn more about how understanding ACES can help to provide an opportunity to make important changes in this recent New York Times article by David Bornstein Putting the Power of Self-Knowledge to Work
Learn more about how others are using the ACES research to develop programs and policies with positive results at ACES CONNECTION
We are excited to launch the Trauma Services of Southwestern Ontario (TSSWO). We invite you to contact us at any time for any further information that you may need.
As you have probably read or heard in the news, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is going to be recognized as a work place injury in Ontario for first responders. Hopefully not too far behind this will be a change to WSIB legislation also doing the same.
Unfortunately many of our first responders (including front line mental health, corrections, hospital staff, admin and clinical) and veterans are not readily able to identify the symptoms of PTSD thus go on trying to manage day to day with an almost unmanageable illness. Several first responders and many combat veterans have taken their lives this year due to their struggle with PTSD. Click on the links below to learn more.
From 680 News:
Following Toronto Officers Death, Attention Turns To Better PTSD Assessment
From The Globe and Mail:
One in 10 Canadian vets of Afghan war diagnosed with PTSD
TSSWO has the services to assess and effectively treat PTSD in first responders and combat veterans. Please contact us on the next page to inquire about services.
Please check back to learn more about upcoming training and other topics of interest.
Your TSSWO Team