Identifying the mental health burden of firefighters in a Northwestern Ontario professional fire service in context of COVID-19
Posluszny, Kate M.
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Mental health disorders are among the top five causes of lost-time and workplace disability claims among Canadian firefighters, along with traumatic injuries, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory disease (Ramsden et al., 2018). Critical incidents (CIs) are work-related trauma experiences that emergency response personnel are commonly exposed to that adversely impact mental health (Wagner et al., 2020). Among many other factors, CI exposures can cause detrimental emotional, psychological, and physiological stress, increasing the risk of developing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD; Kehl et al., 2014). In a recent study, 91% of firefighters in a local fire service experienced a CI and 86% experienced symptoms of PTSD (Sinden et al., 2020). Carmassi et al. (2020) identified that the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) increases the risk for mental health injuries, including PTSD. Other influencing factors that impact the risk of PTSD include years of service, age, and gender (Del Ben et al., 2006; Thurnell-Read & Parker, 2008). [...]