This week, WCB Nova Scotia helped first responders launch a new website that offers resources to help them deal with mental health issues that result from trauma they experience at work.
Developed by first responders, for first responders, FirstRespondersMentalHealthNS.com features vivid images of real first responders as part of a broader campaign that aims to address the stigma that still exists in emergency response occupations, and sometimes prevents workers from speaking up when they need help.
The website connects first responders with resources and programs including self-assessments, online counselling, mobile apps, training materials, and management toolkits. It is modelled after a similar, successful program from British Columbia.
WCB Nova Scotia’s Vice President of Service Delivery Shelley Rowan has worked as part of the steering committee to guide the development of the new website over the past year. The committee includes front line first responders and leaders from law enforcement, fire, corrections, nursing, emergency dispatch, and paramedics.
“This website reflects the tremendous commitment of first responders and their employers, to working together and developing the mental health supports they need,” says Rowan. “The WCB is very proud to participate in and support this work.”
Though led entirely by the committee itself, the website is closely aligned with a refreshed approach to supporting workers impacted by psychological injuries at the WCB. That approach is in development, and it will consider how online mental health resources may be able to augment worker treatment plans, and support employer efforts to provide a psychologically safe workplace. WCB case managers were part of the group that reviewed the finished website and suggested improvements.
The First Responder Steering Committee will continue to work together in the New Year to evolve and improve the website, and to collaborate on other opportunities to support first responders' mental health.
To learn more, visit FirstRespondersMentalHealthNS.com.