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

Anxiety-Related Psychopathology and Chronic Pain Comorbidity Among Public Safety Personnel (2018)

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Lay Summary “A Brief Review of Anxiety-Related Psychopathology and Chronic Pain Comorbidity among Public Safety Personnel

Public safety personnel appear to be at risk for mental disorders and pain. The results indicated PSP who reported chronic pain were significantly more likely to screen positive for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, or alcohol use disorder. There were differences between PSP categories; but, the most consistent indications of coexistence were for chronic pain, PTSD, and major depressive disorder. Coexistence of chronic pain and mental disorders among PSP is prevalent. Health care providers should regularly assess PSP for both symptom domains.

Carleton, R. N., Afifi, T. O., Taillieu, T., Turner, S., El-Gabalawy, R., Sareen, J., & Asmundson, G. J. G. (2018). Anxiety-related psychopathology and chronic pain comorbidity among public safety personnel. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 55, 48-55. doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2018.03.006

Psychological Health and Safety in the Paramedic Service Organization (2018)

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This Standard provides paramedic service organizations and other key stakeholders with requirements and guidance on good practice for the identification and assessment of hazards and management of psychological health and safety (PHS) risks for paramedic service organizations and the promotion of improved psychological health and safety.

Canadian Standards Association. (2018). Psychological health and safety in the paramedic service organization (Standard No. CSA Z-1003.1-18). Toronto, Ont.: Canadian Standards Association.

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

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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

Chronic Pain Among Public Safety Personnel in Canada (2017)

Full Publication

Lay Summary “Chronic Pain among Public Safety Personnel in Canada

Public safety personnel were asked to evaluate their mental and physical wellbeing, including whether they were currently experiencing chronic pain. Survey results show that not only do Canadian PSP experience more chronic pain than the average Canadian, but experiencing chronic pain appears to be linked to experiencing a mental health disorder, such as PTSD, major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and alcohol use disorder.

Carleton, R. N., Afifi, T. O., Turner, S., Taillieu, T., El-Gabalawy, R., Sareen, J., & Asmundson, G. J. G. (2017). Chronic pain among public safety personnel in Canada. Canadian Journal of Pain, 1(1), 237-246. doi: 10.1080/24740527.2017.1410431

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.

Critical Incident Reintegration Program – Edmonton Police (2017)

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A streamlined, peer-driven return-to-work program for police officers and other public safety personnel, featuring an interactive process of dealing with the stress of a critical incident. The program has two variants: short term and long term.

Edmonton Police Service. (2017). Critical incident reintegration program. Edmonton, AB: Edmonton Police Service.

Peer Support and Crisis-Focused Psychological Intervention Programs in Canadian First Responders: Blue Paper (2016)

Full Publication

Executive Summary

There is an urgent need for more research on the effectiveness of peer support and crisis-focused psychological intervention programs designed to help public service personnel cope with work trauma. The operational stressors, which include death, violence, and threats to their own lives, put PSP at risk for psychological challenges, including post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety, and anger. Such challenges can lead to other problems, such as substance abuse, relationship difficulties, and absenteeism.

Beshai, S., & Carleton, R. N. (2016). Peer support and crisis-focused psychological intervention programs in Canadian first responders: Blue Paper. Regina, SK: University of Regina Collaborative Centre for Justice and Safety. Available from: