MPs are calling for new research centre devoted to the mental health of first responders and other public safety officers grappling with the often disturbing toll of their jobs.
Estimates indicate that between 10 and 35 per cent of first responders — from paramedics to prison guards — will develop post-traumatic stress disorder, the House of Commons public safety committee says in a report tabled Tuesday.
“The effects of PTSD can be pervasive,” the report says. “They not only affect the individual but can also have an impact on co-workers, families and friends.”
The committee urges setting up a Canadian Institute for Public Safety Officer Health Research that would collect data, devise a research strategy and generally recognize the particular challenges public safety officers face in their work.
They also recommend that the institute’s research strategy include a comprehensive overview of the literature on use of medicinal marijuana to cope with stress injuries.