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Alberta grants support mental health of first responders

The provincial government is providing grants to help support the mental health needs of Alberta’s first responders.

The Supporting Psychological Health in First Responders (SPHIFR) program provides $1.5 million annually to 13 non-profits and six researchers in the area.

The organizations that receive these grants will be providing services for first responders at risk of developing post-traumatic stress injuries (PTSIs), with investment also going towards research aimed at improving treatment and prevention programs.

“Alberta’s first responders and emergency workers protect our lives and communities every day, often at a cost to their mental health and well-being. These grants will help alleviate some of the suffering first responders and emergency workers living with post-traumatic stress injuries face by supporting improved services and valuable applied research,” said Matt Jones, minister of jobs, economy, and trade.

First responders, such as peace officers, paramedics, and firefighters, suffer PTSIs significantly more than the general population. In the last four years there have been over 1,400 Workers’ Compensation claims for PTSI in first responders, with these claims costing more than $227 million.

Some of the organizations receiving grants include the Alberta Paramedic Association, the Town of Wembley, and the Regional EMS Foundation, with a full list of recipients available on the government of Alberta website.

In Canada there are over 14,000 firefighters, with 80 per cent being volunteers. There are also 7,500 police officers, 9,400 paramedics, and 1,500 corrections officers.

A Strathcona County Firefighter.
An EPS Officer.

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