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The Role of Paramedic in Suicide Prevention

Understanding why suicide prevention fits with your role as a paramedic Marvyn, a 4th-year student paramedic responded to a call that was dispatched as a suicide attempt. He found a young man, his wife, and an empty bottle of organophosphate (animal insecticide). The distressed husband said his wife had taken a large amount of the animal insecticide to try to kill herself. Marvyn asked the depressed-looking woman, Alice, what had happened. She said she was stressed and had taken some … Read More

Epigenetics- Implications for Mental Health

Epigenetics is the field of study concerned with cellular variations triggered by external and environmental factors that toggle genes “on” and “off”. The changes occur in the phenotype of genetic expression without associated changes in the DNA sequence or genotype. The term “epigenetic” was coined by biologist C.H. Waddington in the 1940s in an effort to describe how “growing cells acquire and maintain their identity through changing developmental stages” [1]. Considered for a moment muscle cells, once differentiated, they continue … Read More

Take Charge of Your Mind Wellness

This article is a special post by F.R.Y. and does not necessarily represent Canadian Paramedicine’s, or its affiliates, opinion. References in this article are for informational purposes only and you should consult with your local health guidelines and protocols before applying any of the information in it. Studies(1) show that First Responders experience 5x musculoskeletal disorders than general workers, suffer from sleep disorders due to shift work, experience anxiety and inability to relax or “let go”, and 30% develop depression … Read More

Burnout and PTSD

INTRODUCTION Paramedics often experience some of the worst calls and scenes that life can throw at anyone, from grizzly animal attacks to horrendous motor vehicle accidents to burns and abuse in pediatric patients. They are often the first on scene and must manage their psychological stimulation and the patients, family members, friends, and witnesses’. It certainly never is a textbook situation in the life of a First Responder. Paramedics can often develop Burnout Syndrome during their career because of the … Read More

Paramedic Wellbeing Series – You are what you think

Introduction Spoiler alert – Paramedics experience higher levels of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and mental fatigue when compared to the general public, and other emergency services. It is widely known that paramedics experience high rates of mental health illness and emotional distress. However, there is limited understanding of how the environment in which paramedics work contributes to this problem. Psychological harm experienced by paramedics takes its toll on individuals in varying capacities and it is not our intention … Read More

I Never Saw It Coming

In 2019 I had a very unexpected and unwanted visit from P.T.S.D. I say unexpected because I did not realize at the time what was happening. There I was making my way through day-to-day life the same as we all do until suddenly, I wasn’t. I was at a dead stop. I couldn’t focus. I wasn’t functioning. I wasn’t living. I was just … still. As a hobby writer I tend to write many thoughts and stories down anyways and … Read More

Addiction Through a Compassionate Lens

The current status of the opioid crisis as a health issue has and continues to leave its mark on communities here, at home and abroad. As noted by Dr. Gabor Maté[1], public alarm around addiction has “focused almost exclusively on drugs” (1). Addiction[2] is said to cut “a much broader swath across our culture” (1). The truth of the matter is, most addicted people use no drugs at all; addiction cannot truly be understood if, as a society, we constrain … Read More

Overcoming the Stress of Mental Health in Paramedics

Introduction It’s not easy being a paramedic. Paramedics are often the first responders to traumatic events like shootings and natural disasters, which means they can be subject to physical and mental stresses that have a negative effect on their well-being. They are also at risk of developing mental health problems, such as PTSD, depression, and anxiety. But there is hope for paramedics who need help with these issues: treatment exists and it can work if you want it badly enough. … Read More

New Study Will Examine Covid-19 Impact On Paramedics In Bc And Ontario

Submitted by BCEHS and the Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcome Sciences With more than 30 years on the job, BC paramedic specialist Brian Twaites has seen just about everything. He’s worked through the HIV/AIDS crisis, SARS, and the ongoing opioid crisis. But 11 months ago, just as COVID-19 was ramping up, he remembers one night specifically that marked a turning point for him: “The streets were getting empty, every call we went to there was now this extra step … Read More

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