Prevalence of mental health disorders among public safety communicators; Preparedness for COVID-19 and its impact
Public safety personnel (PSP; e.g., police officers, firefighters, paramedics, 911 communications) work to keep the Canadian public healthy and safe. Yet, as part of their jobs, PSP experience events that can be traumatic, making it more likely that PSP will develop mental health disorders compared to general people. Public safety communicators (e.g., 911, police, fire, and ambulance call-takers) generally do not receive the same recognition as traditional front-line PSP though, even though communicators have significant rates of mental health disorders that are comparable to other PSP. Unfortunately, even if researchers want to work with communicators to understand and respond to their needs, currently, a list public-safety answering points (PSAPs; i.e., call centres) does not exist. Without a list, there is no real way for researchers to contact PSAPs or even understand how many PSAPs exist and how many individuals work or volunteer as communicators. Without a list of Canadian PSAPs, both researchers and individual PSAPs cannot conduct research or share experiences (like policies and procedures) that may help other Canadian PSAPs, and cannot share experiences that may prevent harm or injury.