Presented by Dr. Jane Storrie, Ph.D., C. Psych. and Dr. Lori Gray, Ph.D., C.Psych.
There is an increasing awareness of the impact on mental health of working in the public safety professions, and a growing role for clinicians to provide necessary services. The Ministry of Health has mandated that First Responder services must submit a PTSD Prevention Plan in April, identifying policies and programs designed to address the mental health needs of their members.
Many services are developing Wellness Units which will include psychological services. Presumptive legislation has increased WSIB acceptance of first responder claims for PTSD, particularly those arising from cumulative exposure. To be eligible, the WSIB requires diagnosis by a psychologist or a physician. A number of services have increased extended health benefits for psychological assessment and treatment. This area of practice is, therefore, growing exponentially.
While most clinicians have the expertise to treat PTSD and other mental health issues associated with working in public safety, it is critical that they develop cultural competency, or an understanding and appreciation of the first responder populations they intend to serve. It is also imperative to acknowledge that each service brings unique concerns and challenges, given their very different responsibilities and experiences.
On Day 1 of this OPA Workshop, representatives of police, fire, paramedic and correctional services will introduce us to their culture, describe their mental health issues, and outline their current supports. We will also hear personal stories from first responders who have suffered from work-related mental health issues.
On Day 2 of the Workshop, we will be providing an in-depth overview of Wellness Unit development. Representatives from services which have already rolled-out programs targeting prevention, education, and intervention will describe the process used to move from concept to implementation, including the role of clinicians as both service providers and consultants in the development of Wellness Units.
This Workshop will be of interest to: psychologists, psychological associates, psychotherapists and social workers, as well as representatives of public safety organizations charged with the development of wellness initiatives.
Continental Breakfast and Lunch are included.