04/13/2012 11:30 EDT | Updated 06/13/2012 05:12 EDT

Alberta Progressive Conservatives promise PTSD coverage for first responders

EDMONTON - The Progressive Conservatives are promising to ensure that police, firefighters and other first responders get proper treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Alberta Premier Alison Redford said if her party wins the provincial election, the government would include PTSD under Workers' Compensation Board coverage.

She said the province has an obligation to support first responders and their families.

"It is essential that we protect those who selflessly protect us," Redford told reporters Friday, with about two dozen police officers and firefighters in uniform standing behind her.

PTSD symptoms can include having powerful nightmares, withdrawing from friends and family and suffering insomnia or becoming aggressive.

Redford said research in recent years has made it clear the disorder causes real suffering, and its victims need help.

"The perception of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has significantly shifted over the past decade. And as such, I believe this legislation reflects the views of Albertans with respect to mental health, healthy communities and support that we need to put in place for the people that keep us safe everyday."

She said Alberta would be the second province to make the change. British Columbia has already done so.

Alberta voters go to the polls on April 23.