P.E.I. first responders get mental health tips

First responders on the Island will be at a day-long workshop Saturday to help them with coping skills for mental health in their high-stress jobs.

Day-long workshop will focus on coping techniques for high-stress jobs

First responders deal regularly with potentially traumatic situations. (Simon-Marc Charron/Radio-Canada)

P.E.I.'s first responders are getting together in Hunter River Saturday to talk about how to cope with their very stressful jobs.

Often police officers, firefighters and paramedics are first on the scene to help out, and they see things they'd rather forget — but sometimes can't.

Knowing when to ask for support is the focus of the First Responder Mental Health Education day.

"It all depends on a person's coping mechanisms and really what's going on in their life at that moment," said Tara Vasil, with the Paramedic Association of P.E.I., and coordinator of the event. "Because if somebody is in a high-stress lifestyle at home and you bring that stress to work, and then you have a critical incident, like that could push you over the edge.

"But if you keep on with the positive coping mechanisms and dealing with things and not let them build up, then you can deal with those situations a lot easier than what you would if you let those things build up."

Some of Saturday's speakers include psychiatrists, psychologists, mental health instructors, paramedics, firefighters and military personnel.