First responders and public safety professionals seeking immediate help after a difficult call or event can now contact a new crisis text line.
Michael Johnston, the president of Hope 4 Heroes Canada and a former paramedic said those who need help to deal with on-the-job trauma now have it.
"I had a long paramedic career and saw many things I couldn't unsee through those years, many that came back to haunt me when I least expected it. It was uncomfortable."
After working with others to form the organization, Johnston said the text service was developed to help other first responders don't have to go through the same experience he had.
"We all know far too many people that have taken their own lives, both in the public safety sector and out, and suicide is always just a tragedy.
"We looked out and thought 'In that moment, how can we help?'— in that moment of crisis, to help those that come to work to help us everyday."
Johnston said the text service is anonymous and can be used anytime, anywhere making it easy for those who feel the need to talk. All they have to do is text the key word H4H to 741741.
Trained volunteers will respond to the text messages and help the person through the crisis moment.
"You could be sitting there struggling and not be able to make a phone call, but you can sit there and text," said Johnston.
The text service is available around the clock, seven days a week. "You can pick up your phone and it's there."
Johnston said in his early years as a paramedic he didn't cope with the stress very well. Later on he used exercise, nutrition and speaking openly as ways to cope.
"It's not weak to come forward and say you're having difficulty with something you've seen. We're all only human and everything affects us differently."
Hope 4 Heroes Canada has partnered with Kids Help Phone to offer the service and Johnston said they've received positive response so far.
"It's like 911, we're happy it's there if we need it but nobody ever really ever wants to have to use it."
Johnston said the service is available to anyone in a profession that has to deal with or respond to serious incidents.
"Anyone that interacts with an emergency scene, this service is for them."