Mental Health Training, Attitudes Toward Support, and Screening Positive for Mental Disorders (2019)

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Lay Summary “I Want Help, But Not From You: Public Safety Personnel and Mental Health Programs and Support

Public safety personnel were asked about their experience with mental health training, their attitudes about mental health, and the types of assistance they were willing to use if they had a workplace mental health issue. Results showed that PSP are most willing to rely on their spouse or friends for mental health support, and would only consider using an Employee Assistance Program as a last resort. There needs to be more research done in order to better understand why PSP access mental health training and the effect it may have on certain types of mental health disorders. This study also shows that more training and resource support for PSP family members and leadership may be needed.

Carleton, R.N., Afifi, T.O., Turner, S., Taillieu, T., Vaughan, A.D., Anderson, G.S., Ricciardelli, R., MacPhee, R.S., Cramm, H.A., Czarnuch, S., Hozempa, K., & Camp, R.D. (2019). Mental health training, attitudes toward support, and screening positive for mental disorders. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, pp.1-19. doi:10.1080/16506073.2019.1575900

Exposures to Potentially Traumatic Events Among Public Safety Personnel in Canada (2019)

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Lay Summary “How Much Trauma is Too Much? Public Safety Personnel and Exposure to Traumatic Events

First responders and other public safety personnel in Canada may be experiencing substantial difficulties with symptoms of mental health disorders. These difficulties may be associated with increased exposure to potentially traumatic events as part of working in public safety, with specific types of events appearing as particularly problematic.

Carleton, R. N., Afifi, T. O., Taillieu, T., Turner, S., Krakauer, R., Anderson, G. S., MacPhee, R. S., Ricciardelli, R, Cramm, H. A., Groll, D., & McCreary, D. R. (2019). Exposures to potentially traumatic events among public safety personnel in Canada. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science / Revue canadienne des sciences du comportement, 51(1), 37-52. doi: 10.1037/cbs0000115

Association Between a History of Child Abuse and Suicidal Ideation, Plans and Attempts among Canadian Public Safety Personnel: A Cross-Sectional Survey (2018)

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Public safety personnel experience substantial mental health problems strongly associated with suicide. This study was designed to explore associations between childhood abuse, career-related trauma, and suicidal behaviours. While career-related trauma was significantly associated with suicidal behaviours, experiencing child abuse was found to have an even stronger effect, supporting the recognition of childhood abuse as an important factor related to suicidal behaviours among public safety personnel.

Turner, S., Taillieu, T., Carleton, R. N., Sareen, J., & Afifi, T. (2018). Association between a history of child abuse and suicidal ideation, plans and attempts among Canadian public safety personnel: A cross-sectional survey. Canadian Medical Association Journal Open, 6(4), E463-E470. doi:10.9778/cmajo.20170153

Playing the System: Structural Factors Potentiating Mental Health Stigma, Challenging Awareness, and Creating Barriers to Care for Canadian Public Safety Personnel (2018)

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Why does help-seeking for employment-related mental health concerns become unacceptable? This research looks at the open-ended final comments provided by over 828 Canadian PSP as part of a larger online survey designed to assess the prevalence of mental disorders among PSP. Based on these results, it appears that organizational culture and structures may play a role in 1) influencing PSP decision-making to seek mental health care, 2) how PSP who do seek care are viewed by their colleagues, and 3) encouraging PSP to minimize their personal mental health needs. In particular, there was widespread participant suspicion that coworkers who took the time to address their mental health needs were “abusing the system.”

Ricciardelli, R., Carleton, R. N., Mooney, T., & Cramm, H. (2018). Playing the system: Structural factors potentiating mental health stigma, challenging awareness, and creating barriers to care for Canadian public safety personnel. Health. doi:10.1177/1363459318800167

Suicidal Ideation, Plans, and Attempts Among Public Safety Personnel in Canada (2018)

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The current study was designed to assess past-year and lifetime suicidal ideation, plans, and attempts amongst a large diverse sample of Canadian PSP. Significant differences were identified across PSP categories in reports of past-year and lifetime suicidal behaviours.

Carleton, R. N., Afifi, T. O., Turner, S., Taillieu, T., LeBouthillier, D. M., Duranceau, S., Sareen, J., Ricciardelli, R., MacPhee, R. S., Groll, D., Hozempa, K., Brunet, A., Weekes, J. R., Griffiths, C. T., Abrams, K. J., Jones, N. A., Beshai, S., Cramm, H. A., Dobson, K. S., Hatcher, S., Keane, T. M., Stewart, S. H., & Asmundson, G. J. G. (2018). Suicidal ideation, plans, and attempts among public safety personnel in Canada. Canadian Psychology/Psychologie canadienne, 59(3), 220-231. doi: 10.1037/cap0000136

Qualitatively Unpacking Canadian Public Safety Personnel Experiences of Trauma and Their Well-Being: Physical Manifestations, Psychological Implications, and Fatalistic Attitudes (2018)

Full Publication

Lay Summary “Public Safety Personnel in Their Own Words: Asking for Support with Mental Health

Public safety personnel report experiencing extensive trauma, directly and vicariously, acutely and cumulatively. The effects of this trauma on personnel and their family members are reported as physical, psychological, and social or interpersonal impacts, as well as marital breakdown and relationship dissolution with children, and increased family stress, strain, and anger. PSP also reported they felt that nothing would change, that they had no voice, and that both their employer and the different levels of government did not care about their well-being.

Ricciardelli, R., Carleton, R. N., Groll, D., & Cramm, H. (2018). Qualitatively unpacking Canadian public safety personnel experiences of trauma and their well-being. Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice, 60(4), 566-577. doi: 10.3138/cjccj.2017-0053.r2

An Integrated Approach to Mental Health in First Responders and Other Public Safety Personnel: A Five-Phase Plan – Strathcona County Emergency Services (2017)

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Strathcona County Disability Management explored service standards and programs to address an increase in lost hours and costs due to mental illness, including operational stress injuries, in an effort to apply best practices with regards to mental health. Resistance, resiliency and recovery are supported through Disability Management, prompt access to evidence-based care and a culturally competent provider, Peer Support, a Chaplaincy, and Employee and Family Assistance programming, as well as access to counselling services through extended health care benefits and third- party providers. Advancements made to date have prompted significant cultural change with respect to stigma reduction and increasing help-seeking behaviour. Further, costs associated with WCB-AB claims due to Occupational Stress Injury (OSI) were reduced to zero in 2015, in 2016, and in 2017 to date.

Strathcona County Emergency Services. (2017). An integrated approach to mental health in first responders and other public safety personnel: A five-phase plan. Sherwood Park, AB: Strathcona County.