First responders to receive more than $1 million in free mental health and addiction care

TORONTO, Nov. 26, 2019 /CNW/ - Trafalgar Addiction Treatment Centres has launched its Local Hero Support Program, which will provide up to 50 residential concurrent disorder treatment spaces each year to first responders who currently do not have access to care, at no cost. This represents more than $1 million in care over the course of one year.

With this program, Trafalgar Addiction Treatment Centres aims to raise awareness for the growing prevalence of concurrent addiction and mental health disorders within the first responder community. Most of these issues stem from a career and life of exposure to traumatic events causing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Studies have shown that nearly half of first responders in Canada have symptoms consistent with at least one mental health disorder - four times higher than in the general population. Because of the stigma associated with mental health on the job, the true numbers of those affected are unknown and likely underestimated.

"First responders are there when we need them, facing situations that are unimaginable to most of us. These heroes put their lives and emotional wellbeing on the line for our collective benefit, and far too many are suffering without support." says Shane Saltzman, CEO of Trafalgar Addiction Treatment Centres. "We are committed to assisting those in the first responder community, and we hope the Local Hero Support Program increases the dialogue on this important and urgent issue."

While some resources are available in Canada, there are barriers to care that prevent many thousands who are suffering from getting the support they need. Many first responders who clearly suffer from addiction and mental health issues are unable to prove that they suffer from PTSD, and are unable to secure funding for support. For those who do qualify for funding, the process can be difficult to navigate and there is a significant wait of up to a year, which is an eternity for someone suffering from what can be a debilitating illness for them and their families.

"After years of cumulative exposures and stress, it is no surprise that some first responders can suffer from depression, anxiety, PTSD, suicidal ideation, and substance abuse," says Staff Sergeant Wendy Sims, Organizational Wellness Unit, Peel Regional Police. "First responders who suffer from these health conditions need intensive and extensive treatment to keep them mentally, emotionally and physically healthy, so a program like Trafalgar's is life changing. It breaks barriers and is a tremendous first step in what needs to be a long-term, community-wide strategy to help those who are being underserved."

Trafalgar Addiction Treatment Centres is an experienced and trauma informed clinic, with a proven history of effectively treating first responders with addiction and mental health issues. The Trafalgar person-centric program includes three individual sessions per week with a Master's level therapist, access to a psychiatric consult and follow-up, PTSD specific programming, three skills groups per day, combined family therapy, family support programming and aftercare programs that provide clients with counselling and support long after they leave the facility's care.

With the launch of this initiative, Trafalgar Addiction Treatment Centres is calling on the broader mental health and addiction community to join in better serving the complex needs of this population.

To apply for a Local Hero Support placement, first responders can visit

About Trafalgar Addiction Treatment Centres
Trafalgar Addiction Treatment Centres is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) as a provider of addiction and mental health treatment in Canada. Trafalgar Addiction Treatment Centres has revolutionized the way care is provided by offering an intensive, highly individualized approach that focuses on treating concurrent disorders and by providing industry-leading aftercare support. Since its founding in 2013, it has provided care to approximately 2,000 individuals, and their families, from across the country through its two residential facilities and outpatient clinic in the GTA.

SOURCE Trafalgar Addiction Treatment Centres