Ontario invests $1M in Caledon first responder PTSD centre

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Published March 3, 2022 at 4:42 pm

The province is investing $1 million for a Post-Traumatic Stress Injury rehabilitation and treatment centre in Caledon dedicated to first responders.

The new Runnymede Healthcare Centre’s First Responders Post-Traumatic Stress Injury Rehabilitation Treatment and Assessment Centre will include two new facilities providing mental health support to first responders across the Greater Toronto Area affected by work-related stress or trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

There will be an outpatient and assessment centre in Toronto called Station 3434, as well as a 40-bed in-patient facility in Caledon which was donated by the Region of Peel.

The Caledon treatment centre will serve first responders including firefighters, paramedics, nurses and police officers with specialised services like assessments, intensive treatment and aftercare, as well as substance use treatment.

Other expected services include virtual care and 24/7 crisis support, as well as peer and navigation support towards recovery.

Ontario’s health care system doesn’t currently provide mental health support and treatments tailored to the unique needs of first responders.

Premier Doug Ford said the centre will be the first of its kind in the province and will give first responders “the specialised, best-in-class treatment that they need and deserve.”

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve relied on Ontario’s heroic first responders and nurses more than ever before,” Ford said in a statement. “We know it has taken a tremendous toll on them and it’s our duty to ensure that they have access to the best mental health care available.”

The province said there are more than 13,000 estimated first responders suffering from PTSD in Ontario, with that number projected to grow to over 16,000 by 2040.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also exacerbated the mental health challenges first responders face and enhanced the need to provide services that meet their unique needs. Over time, this project has the potential to be expanded provincially and include other frontline health care professionals to help improve access to safe and effective mental health supports across the province.

In February 2021, the Ontario government established four mental health collaborative tables to better support the mental health and well-being of policing, fire, corrections, and paramedic services personnel.

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