May 08, 2019

Province Funds EMS Providers' Mental Health and Addictions Programming

Saskatchewan paramedics and other first responders will benefit from $250,000 in funding for mental health and addictions programming.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority will use this money to develop a program that provides ongoing mental health supports for both public and private emergency medical services (EMS) providers throughout the province.  It will also provide training for two critical incident support teams and nine peer support teams that support all providers across the province.

“We have made it a health system priority to improve mental health services for all Saskatchewan citizens, including paramedics,” Rural and Remote Health Minister Greg Ottenbreit said.  “We recognize that EMS providers and volunteer medical first responders are on the frontlines of medical care and are exposed to a high number of stressful situations.  This funding will help to set up supports that best address their mental health needs.”

“As we grow into one provincial EMS entity, we will promote a culture that supports, recognizes, and responds effectively to colleagues in need,” Saskatchewan Health Authority Vice President Provincial Programs Corey Miller said.  “This investment by the Ministry of Health will allow us to create and train peer support and critical incident teams within EMS as well as offer resiliency-based education.  We are excited to move forward with our plans to strengthen our paramedics’ resiliency on a day-to-day basis and into the future of EMS in Saskatchewan.”

Ottenbreit announced this funding at today’s Saskatchewan Emergency Medical Services Association’s annual convention in Saskatoon.

Saskatchewan’s 10-year Mental Health and Addictions Action Plan continues to guide and set priority areas for mental health and addictions investments in Saskatchewan.  In the 2019-20 provincial budget, Ministry of Health funding for mental health and addictions increased by nearly $30 million to a record total of $402 million.

May 6 to 12 is Mental Health Week.