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!