Peer Support

Yesterday I posted about P.C.R. - Peer Support, CISM, Reintegration. A mental wellbeing support system for emergency workers. The first phase is Peer Support, but it involves more than what you may think peer support is, it’s much more. The first phase is about prevention and support. Here are some examples of implementing this phase.


1. Start Critical Incident Tracking. My friend Wayne Jasper, Deputy Fire Chief/Training Officer at Anarchist Mountain Fire Department, introduced me to this simple program that can be utilized with almost zero funding and can be implemented quickly. This program creates a record of critical incidents and the responders who attended those calls. Follow-ups from peer support members can be made for multiple occurrences, and a history of calls can be quickly produced in cases of lost work due to exposure to trauma.


2. Implement a mental support request box in electronic patient care reports. In Australia, paramedics have a ticky box on their PCR that they can check if they want to be contacted by a peer support or CISM team member. The vital part of this system is that ONLY support team members have access to this request.


3. Start a mental health working group. In 2018 the Mental Health Commission of Canada developed a psychological health and safety standard that addresses the specific needs of paramedic service organizations. The standard offers sector-specific guidance for developing and maintaining a psychologically healthy and safe workplace. Although it's specific to paramedic services it can be utilized for any branch of emergency services. Here’s a link for more information https://www.mentalhealthcommission.ca/.../new-csa...


Many studies, including the Beyond Blue’s National Health and Wellbeing Study in Australia and the Royal Foundation study assessing the mental health and wellbeing of the emergency responder community in the UK, show the source of many of our stressors are non-trauma related. The Ontario Provincial Police Independent review and the article Assessing the Relative Impact of Diverse Stressors among Public Safety Personnel that was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health also show the importance of decreasing or eliminating the controllable stressors in our work environments. The goal of the Peer Support phase is to eliminate these controllable stressors and develop a supportive, psychologically safe work environment.


Tomorrow I’ll discuss phase 2 of this program – CISM (when S*** hits the fan)


Have a safe weekend, everyone.


Respectfully


DanSun

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