Why was the study done?
The duties of police officers often expose them to dangerous situations and traumatic events. In addition, police officers may struggle to find a balance between heavy workloads and their personal lives. Increasing their ability to successfully cope with stress may be one strategy for improving their mental health and preventing the onset of future mental health concerns. The Road to Mental Readiness (R2MR) program, initially developed by the Canadian military, provides participants with education about mental health and stress, as well as several therapeutic stress management skills (e.g, goal setting, tactical breathing, awareness of self-talk, mental rehearsal/visualization).
What was done in the study?
Participants (147 Canadian police agency employees) received a single session of the R2MR training. The participants then completed secure online self-report surveys before and after their R2MR training session, as well as 6- and 12-months later.
What was found?
- A single session of R2MR training did not lead to changes in participants’ mental health symptoms, work engagement, resiliency, or mental health knowledge.
- Participants did report small reductions in mental health stigma.
- When asked to share their thoughts on R2MR, participants described the training as helpful, particularly for changing attitudes and improving mental health communication.
Where do we go from here?
The current results suggest that a single session of R2MR training might help participants feel more comfortable seeking help with their mental health. Further study is required to determine if more than one session of R2MR training would produce actual changes in several important outcomes (mental health symptoms, work engagement, resiliency, and mental health knowledge). More research is also needed to evaluate the impact of different training options and different versions of the R2MR program.
The original wording of the study was changed and condensed for the current lay summary.
Original Article: Carleton, R. N., Korol, S., Mason, J. E., Hozempa, K., Anderson, G. S., Jones, N. A., Dobson, K. S., Szeto, A. & Bailey, S. (2018). A longitudinal assessment of the road to mental readiness training among municipal police. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, 47(6), 508-528. doi:10.1080/16506073.2018.1475504
Summary prepared by: Mason, J., Jones, N., and Carleton, R.N. Edited by Kossick, E. and Martin, R. September 2019.