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Directory of mental health clinicians now live for B.C. first responders

November 13, 2019
By FFIC Staff

Nov. 13, 2019, Vancouver – The Directory of Occupationally Aware Clinicians is a new online mental health resource for B.C. firefighters and other first responders. The online database gives users the opportunity to access vetted mental health clinicians who are trained to best serve their unique needs, which stem from the stress they are exposed to on the job.

“British Columbia’s first responders are asking for help. Every day, I get an email or call from a firefighter requesting a clinician referral. Partnering with the B.C. Professional Fire Fighters’ Association and the B.C. Association of Clinical Counsellors, our shared vision is to deliver support in an accessible and immediate way to keep first responders safe,” said Matt Johnston, Surrey firefighter and founder of First Responder Health, in a news release.

The Directory of Occupationally Aware Clinicians is the result of a two-year initiative to identify and train healthcare professionals. Members of the directory have gone through two-day trauma training workshops where they learned how to support the needs of public safety personnel and their family members.

The Occupational Awareness Training: Treating First Responder Trauma program is supported by the B.C. First Responder Mental Health Committee, which is chaired by WorkSafeBC, and was developed by Johnston and Steve Farina, Lower Mainland vice president of the B.C. Professional Fire Fighters’ Association and chair of the Mental Health Taskforce. The two-day program is an entry point to working with first responders and compliments the advanced training that all of the network clinicians have received. Many of the clinicians have also completed the two-day level two program, which features a variety of recognized experts in the field of trauma, resiliency and healing, with a specific application to members of public safety personnel and their families.

“What I love about this directory is that it includes a group of truly humble, curious and talented mental health professionals that have taken the time to immerse themselves in our first responder culture, language, hierarchy and unionized work environment,” said Farina in a news release. “Understanding the nuances of chain of command, available benefits and the landscape of the fire service is crucial when taking on first responder clients, because we are a unique group with our own distinct challenges.”

The directory was designed to be accessible and easy to navigate and does not have a paywall, data mining or advertising. First responders can access support by booking an online counselling session or by using the directory to search for a clinician nearby.

To access the directory, visit www.firstresponderhealth.org/directory