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September 24, 2020

Internet-delivered mental health support program for public safety personnel expanding to Quebec

 

Help is on its way for public safety personnel (PSP) in Quebec who are experiencing mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and stress disorders due to posttraumatic stress injuries (PTSI).

The Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment (CIPSRT) at the University of Regina has expanded the Public Safety Personnel Internet-delivered Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (ICBT) program, known as PSPNET, to provide online therapy in both official languages (English and French) to PSP living in Quebec.

A strong team of University of Regina researchers and clinicians, led by Dr. Heather Hadjistavropoulos, one of Canada’s leading scholars in ICBT, is behind this innovative way of providing therapy to tackle some of the health issues facing public safety personnel and their families.

The program is offered free to border security agents, communications officials such as emergency response dispatchers, correctional workers, firefighters, paramedics, and police. Help for those who help all of us is just a phone call or a click away.

The work that PSP perform everyday exposes them to danger and potentially traumatic situations that create long-lasting physical and mental health issues for them and their families.

“PSPNET was first launched in Saskatchewan in January 2020 with great success,” says Dr. Heather Hadjistavropoulos, Professor of Psychology at the U of R and principal investigator of PSPNET. “Nearly 90 per cent of PSP who take the eight-week online therapy and PSP wellbeing course report increased confidence and ability to manage their symptoms, and approximately 85 per cent see anxiety and depression reduced or maintained at non-clinical levels.”

“We are really happy for the great job being done by Dr. Hadjistavropoulos, especially for the progress the PSPNET team has made in Saskatchewan in helping to improve the mental health and wellbeing of those who sacrifice a lot on a daily basis to keep all of us safe,” says CIPSRT Scientific Director Dr. Nicholas Carleton. “We look forward to a similar level of success in Quebec.”

“The PSPNET team is proud of their role in the Government of Canada’s Action Plan on Post-Traumatic Stress Injuries through this project, which is providing much-needed support to Canada’s public safety personnel, and their families,” says University of Regina Interim President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Thomas Chase.

PSPNET is supported by a $10 million investment previously announced in 2018 by Public Safety Canada as part of the government’s Action Plan on Post-Traumatic Stress Injuries.

“I am pleased to see the great work that is being done by the PSPNET team. The PSP Wellbeing Course has provided valuable care to many public safety personnel in Saskatchewan and I am confident it will be as successful in Quebec,” says the Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. “By supporting research and initiatives like this one, the Government of Canada is helping to protect front-line personnel, the people we rely on every day to protect us, from the detrimental effects of post-traumatic stress injuries.”

The eight-week program provides free and confidential access to treatment for depression, anxiety, and PTSI in English and French for PSP who:

  • self-report problems with anxiety, depression, or posttraumatic stress injuries;
  • are 18 years of age or older;
  • are comfortable using and have access to the Internet;
  • are willing to provide a local medical contact in case of emergencies; and,
  • live in Saskatchewan or Quebec.

The Saskatchewan and Quebec model will provide a framework for possible expansion nationwide in the future.

View the video of the launch event here!

For more information or to inquire about how to subscribe to the program, please visit www.pspnet.ca or contact the PSPNET team by email (pspnet@uregina.ca) or phone (306-337-7233 or 1-833-317-7233).


About the University of Regina:

The University of Regina—with campuses located on Treaty 4 and Treaty 6 territories, the ancestral lands of the Cree, Saulteaux, Dakota, Lakota and Nakoda nations and the homeland of the Métis—is a comprehensive, mid-sized university that traces its roots back to the creation of Regina College in 1911. Today, more than 16,500 students study within the University’s 10 faculties, 25 academic departments/schools, 18 research centres and institutes, and three federated colleges (Campion College, First Nations University of Canada, and Luther College). The University of Regina has an established reputation for excellence and innovative programs that lead to undergraduate, master, and doctoral degrees.

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