MPs want centre for first-responder trauma


OTTAWA – MPs are calling for new research centre devoted to the mental health of first responders and other public safety officers.

In a report tabled today, a House of Commons committee says estimates indicate that between 10 and 35 per cent of first responders — from paramedics to prison guards — will develop post-traumatic stress disorder.

The committee urges creation of a Canadian Institute for Public Safety Officer Health Research.

It would collect data, devise a research strategy and generally recognize the particular challenges public safety officers face in their work.

The MPs say the institute should be modelled on an existing one for military members and veterans, but operate separately.

The committee wants the new institute to work with Statistics Canada on a national mental health prevalence survey to gauge effects including repetitive trauma exposure.