07/02/2015 01:12 EDT | Updated 07/02/2016 05:59 EDT

Paramedic stress focus of Toronto ombudsman probe

Toronto ombudsman Fiona Crean is launching an investigation into how the city's paramedics handle stress related to their work, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Occupation stress injuries, the subject of Crean's study, is the blanket term for a range of persistent psychological problems triggered by on-the-job activities, including anxiety, depression, alcohol and drug dependency and PTSD.
"There's increasing evidence that the stress and trauma that police, firefighters and paramedics face every day can affect their mental and emotional health," Crean said in a statement Thursday. "And a recent report by the Paramedics Chiefs of Canada has suggested these problems could be on the rise."

Crean is encouraging paramedics "to come forward and tell us their stories. Our process is completely confidential."

Last year, Ontario Paramedics Association spokesman Geoff MacBride told CBC News that he estimates a quarter of the group's members will suffer from some form of PTSD in their career.