First Responder Suicides Top Those Of Military

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paramedicOver the past two years, 24 military personnel have committed suicide.

It’s an issue that has caused much concern among Canadians and awakened the public to the dangers of post-traumatic stress disorder. The suicides have also drawn attention to the services provided to soldiers returning from horrible combat. They deserve our best support.

Even more concerning … if for the numbers only … are the 44 first responders who have committed suicide over the past two years.

When I was reporting at the Ottawa Citizen a number of years ago, I spent a lot of time covering problems in the area’s ambulance service which could not meet North American response standards.

During that period I met a number of paramedics who impressed me with their professionalism under the most difficult of circumstances. They shrugged off horrible situations as just part of the job. One paramedic I spoke to said he was never bothered by the sickness and carnage he dealt with until he came to a serious accident where a friend was badly injured. For that trauma, he took a day off.

This week members of the Tema Conter Memorial Trust, a training centre for emergency responders, were in town lobbying for good psychological services for first responders.

The Bulldog supports their endeavours whole-heartedly. And first responders must help themselves. All the bravado in the world can’t protect a person from the constant stress of such an important vocation.

If you need help, get it. No one should think the less of the person who helps themselves in a difficult situation.

We’re not superhuman. Just human and sometimes humans need a bit of assistance.


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