'Don't suffer in silence' Canadian first responders speak out on Bell Let's Talk Day
Canadian first responders are engaging in mental health discussions today in support of Bell Let’s Talk Day.
Front line workers like paramedics, police and other emergency service workers are not immune to their own challenges with mental health though they are often considered to be especially resilient.
But serving and protecting Canadians also means taking care of themselves. For many Toronto Police officers, part of that self-care has been attending a weekly support and therapy group called H.E.A.R.T., “Healing, Esteem, Awakening, Reality and Trust.”
In a series of tweets, staff with Toronto Police shared the ways in which mental health support can be provided.
“By removing personal judgment and biases,” answered one officer. By “supporting your peers through any issues in life is difficult but just listening and continuously checking in makes a big difference,” wrote another person on a Bell Let’s Talk sign. “Don’t assume you know someone else’s situation,” said another.
“If you feel like you need to talk to someone about anything, please reach out,” wrote the 42 Division in Toronto. “Don't suffer in silence.”
First responders across the country joined the discussion, including Nova Scotia’s Emergency Health Services team. “Don’t be ashamed to speak out,” wrote one group of workers on a card with the hashtag “#endthestigma.”
The RCMP in Prince Edward Island posted on Facebook with the message that “Mental health is everyone’s business.”
Newfoundland and Labrador paramedics offered some “positive coping strategies” on social media. “Whether it’s spending time with family and friends, playing sports or having a hobby. Ensure you use self care routines in your life!”
“Let’s fight this together,” wrote paramedics in London, Ont.
“We are not afraid to talk mental health,” posted Medevie Health Services in Saskatoon, Sask.
“Sometimes all it takes is a smile to keep the conversation going,” wrote Peel Regional Police in Ontario.
Q. How do we support each other around mental health?— Toronto Police (@TorontoPolice) January 30, 2019
A. For 18yrs police officers from all over Ontario have attended the H.E.A.R.T. Group led by Patricia Davies (aka 'Kirmit') on Wednesdays. H=Healing E=Esteem A=Awakening R=Reality T=Trust @kirmitsplace #BellLetsTalk ^sm pic.twitter.com/Zpm5x175xm