Paramedic Nat

A Blog About a Paramedic's Mental Health Journey


October 9, 2019

Grrrr! We Already Know This!–did-these-officers-have-to-die-barrie-psychologist-part-of-police-suicide-panel/

Grrrrr. 🤦🏻‍♀️ We already know ALL of the information provided in this article, and have for a LONG time!

We also know the answer to the question, “Did these officers have to die?” NO!

I’m fed up with reading about another study and another panel! Actions are what need to occur. Allow me to suggest some:

  • stop trying to get first responders diagnosed with PTSD to return to work faster than you would if they broke their leg. PTSD is a complex diagnosis with multiple treatment options which take time.
  • publicly fund and get insurance companies to cover all treatments offered for PTSD.
  • provide and encourage peer support internally and externally.
  • include family members in the first responder’s treatment regime. Family members have a wealth of knowledge which can help with care, AND family members themselves may require treatment.
  • approve longer vacation time and stop tracking sick days. Mental health days ARE necessary and first responders should not feel bad for taking them.
  • if you are a manager, reach out to your employees who are off due to PTSD! I (and many of my co-workers) have never had a phone call from my previous employer asking how I was doing. Even an email would have been nice.
  • recognize retirement due to PTSD. These first responders sacrificed their lives every day to help their community’s. When we see that retirement for any other reason is celebrated, it hurts.
  • make sure that first responders off with PTSD still feel like part of the “family”. Sanctuary trauma is a real thing and can be devastating for some.

… the list can go on! And I’m sure many who are reading this have many suggestions of their own.

Some of these suggestions don’t even cost a dime. They cost the time it takes to be a decent human being and support those who desperately need help.–did-these-officers-have-to-die-barrie-psychologist-part-of-police-suicide-panel/

I Will Not Stay In My Lane When It Comes To Advocating For The Saving Of Lives

I will not stay in my lane (whatever that is) when it comes to advocating for the saving of lives. Please stop trying to get me to. You’re wasting your time. Work WITH me instead. 

I’m what you call an apple cart upsetter; but I do so with respect and good intentions. But no matter how respectful and well intentioned I am, many of the people who pull these carts don’t like what I represent. Upsetting the apple cart often looks like me challenging agencies to do better, sooner, and to not make excuses. I have no political agenda when I do so. My intent is to save lives. Plain and simple! And if that means that I need to challenge well known, large agencies to stop working in siloed, ego-driven apple carts, I will; and I have. 

Not everyone minds that I upset apple carts all over the place. Many individuals (most often the hands-on workers at these agencies) who have a passion for helping others and do so on a daily basis, see that my intentions are good. And that their ability to do their jobs to their fullest is often delayed by committees and boards that meet on an infrequent basis and rarely consult with them directly about their needs. I have experienced these massive gaps between the workers and board members first hand when I recently met with some executives of a very well known healthcare agency, and when I relayed specific asks from a department that was in need of some additional funding, (funding that I was prepared to request from the local MPP’s), I was told that the workers have no say in what is required and that I should leave the asks of the MPP’s to the Vice President of said healthcare agency because they were the one who was always at Queen’s Park. News flash: if I (and many others) were to have waited for Vice Presidents of agencies to ask at Queen’s Park for what first responders needed from WSIB, we may not have Bill 163, and an entirely new department at WSIB dedicated to mental wellness. I have every right to make requests of my MPP’s, just like all of the citizen’s of this province do.

Like it or not, I will request declarations of emergencies, public inquiries, create peer support groups, ask elected officials for meetings, share my likes and dislikes about certain agencies, share my lived experiences and get upset when I have to bury yet another friend because of deficiencies in our healthcare system. 

When I upset the apple cart, I don’t do so just to be a nuisance, (trust me, I don’t have time for that), I often have a plan that needs to at least be considered seriously. I shine the light on siloed agencies so that they start to work in collaboration with one another, thus decreasing overlap, and hopefully freeing up funds that can be used in areas of need. Our mental health and addiction crisis in this province needs all hands on deck. We need to work together to find solutions to gaps in the system. We need to stop creating yet another board or committee to research what Ontarian’s need. We already know these answers. What we need is better care, now.

This Friday, I am meeting with MPP and Attorney General Doug Downey, MPP Andrea Khanjin, and Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addiction Michael Tibollo, and am proposing a system-based transformation of our current provincial mental health and addiction treatment that will include:

1. Comprehensive, accessible and seamless addiction treatment pathways;
2. Low barrier residential and out-patient treatment; and
3. Improved physician addiction treatment and education. 

Like I said at the beginning of this post, I will not stay in my lane (whatever that is) when it comes to advocating for the saving of lives. Please stop trying to get me to. You’re wasting your time. Work WITH me instead.

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