First responders learn to deal with mental health issues in Richmond

A second Richmond workshop to tackle mental health issues experienced by first responders takes place next week, following the first one in January.

The sold-out Building Resilient Workplaces workshop is being organized by the BC First Responders mental health committee, a multi-agency committee representing labour and management.

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First responders experience job-related traumas and stressors unlike those experienced in most other occupations, and they are at a higher risk of mental health injuries, according to WorkSafeBC, and agencies that employ first responders are looking for ways they can best support their workers’ mental health.

“This is such a critical issue among first responders, and we want to provide leaders, influencers and implementers who have mental-health responsibilities in their organization with solutions they can use to build resilient workplaces,” said Sgt. Ralph Kaisers, president of the Vancouver Police Union and vice-president of the BC Police Association.

Sessions at the workshop will talk about mental health and resilience, the role that leaders have in promoting mental health in the workplace, addressing stigma, intervention and treatment, occupational awareness, action planning and more.

The Richmond News has previously reported how mental illnesses like PTSD affect Richmond firefighters, including the story of a retired Richmond firefighter whose suicide sharpened the department’s focus on piercing the stigma surrounding it.

The day-long workshop takes place on Oct. 23 at the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel in Richmond.

It is one of five workshops being held across the province. Other workshops are being held in Prince George, Kelowna, Victoria and Surrey over the coming months.

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