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Alberta funding more mental health supports for first responders

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August 12, 2020 at 10:54 am - Home, Local News
By Erika Chorostil

The Alberta government will be funding more mental health supports and treatment for the province’s many first responders.

Alberta firefighters, paramedics, police officers, sheriffs, corrections officers, and emergency health-care workers will be able to access more mental health supports, including leading-edge research, prevention, and stigma reduction to help in managing post-traumatic stress injuries.

The government has committed $4.5 million over the next three years, awarding $1.5 million grants per year to non-profit organizations and researchers working to improve mental health.

Applications to the Supporting Psychological Health in First Responders grant will be open until September 20th.

“First responders put their lives on the line every day to protect Albertans and we are committed to ensuring services and treatments are available to treat and prevent post-traumatic stress injuries,” says Jason Copping, Minister of Labour and Immigration. “This grant program will fund non-profit organizations and researchers to improve the programs and ensure supports are available.”

From 2014 to 2018, the government says there were 450 Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) claims for first responders related to PTSD injuries, totaling more than $55 million.

Alberta has more than 14,000 full-time, part-time, casual, and volunteer firefighters, about 80 percent of whom are volunteers.

The province also has more than 7,500 police officers, 9,400 paramedics, 770 sheriffs, and 1,500 corrections officers.

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