Paramedics get tools to fight PTSD

First responders plight brought to light by Victoria News article

Help could be on the way for first responders in British Columbia.

In a story published on Dec. 12, Victoria News profiled Lisa Jennings, a Victoria woman who was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of 24 years of working as a paramedic.

WorkSafe B.C. denied Jennings’ claim. Now, six months after her flashbacks and nightmares began, and six months since she has worked, she is without medical benefits to treat her PTSD and without money to pay her rent.

Julie Wengi, executive director of Human Resources, B.C. Emergency Health Services, said it was a change in leadership in April that brought about a review of policies.

“We realized the support currently in place had been lacking,” she said. “We needed to do more.”

Her department advised their first responders they were reviewing the psychology support structures and asked for input. “We received a lot of feedback from paramedics.”

Wengi said BC EHS is making changes to their employee support like having a clinical psychologist available to staff, and providing training and education about PTSD to staff and managers. She said this service will be available to all workforce members, including part-time paramedics like Jennings.

For Jennings, this could mean getting the necessary treatment so she can return to work. But for now she is starting her appeal with WorkSafe and seeking help from the members of the community she longs to work for again.

To read more about Lisa Jennings and to help her recovery, please go online to gofundme.com/gq0k7w.

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