Former Toronto paramedic Vince Savoia has been raising awareness about the mental health of first responders through the Tema Conter Memorial Trust.
“Every case is really different,” said Savoia. “I believe, honestly, that it’s an accumulation of issues both at home and at work.”
Savoia said Staff Sgt. Kal Ghadban’s death marks the 22nd suicide among Canadian emergency responders since April 29, and the fifth in September alone.
Stigma surrounds mental health issues, with responders “still really reluctant to reach out and ask for help when they need it most,” said Savoia.
Hamilton Police Staff Sgt. Ian Matthews died after shooting himself at police headquarters last December.
When Savoia hears of another death, “it angers me,” he said.
“I honestly feel like a failure.” A suicide awareness campaign was launched last week, with posters available to display at stations.
“We’re trying to get the word out there but it seems to have fallen upon the deaf ears,” said Savoia.
Help is available at tema.ca