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April 4, 2024

Panel discussion: The weight they carry – Managing the impact of moral injury on first responders and other public safety personnel

Thursday, April 18, 2024
9:00 am – 10:00 am CST / MDT (Regina, Edmonton)
11:00 am – 12:00 pm EDT (London, Hamilton, Toronto, Montr


In the context of public safety, moral injury describes the psychological, emotional, and/or spiritual harm that one might experience as a result of events or situations that transgress one’s deeply held morals, ethics, or values. First responders and other public safety personnel (PSP) are routinely called upon to make rapid decisions during complex crisis situations. These situations often involve multiple conflicting responsibilities, uncertainty, and ambiguity, which can have profound moral implications. Potentially morally injurious events (PMIE) can take various forms, including exposure to actions, inactions, or events that violate a person’s beliefs of right and wrong, betrayal by a trusted person, leadership shortcomings, or organizational failures.

A growing body of research highlights the ways that frequent exposure to potentially psychologically traumatic events (PPTE) can negatively impact the mental health and wellbeing of PSP, and contribute to the development of operational, or posttraumatic stress injuries (PTSI). Similarly, exposure to one or more PMIE can result in moral injury that may be associated with mental health challenges.

This panel discussion will discuss the profound impacts of moral injury on PSP, as well as emergent guidelines for supporting and treating individuals negatively impacted by the moral weight of their service.


With panelists:

Dr. Suzette Brémault-Phillips, PhD, MA, BMR, BSc
Professor, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta
Director, Heros in Mind, Advocacy and Research Consortium (HiMARC)

Dr. R. Nicholas Carleton, Ph.D., R.D. Psych., FCAHS, MCRSCP
Professor of Psychology, Department of Psychology, University of Regina
ScientificDirector, Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment (CIPSRT)

Dr. David C. Malloy, PhD
President, King’s University College at Western University

Dr. Liana Lentz, PhD
King’s University

Dr. Margaret McKinnon, PhD, CPsych
Homewood Chair in Mental Health and Trauma
Professor and Associate Chair, Research, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University
Research Lead, Mental Health and Addictions, St Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton

Dr. Lorraine Smith-MacDonald, MDiv, MA, PhD
Co-chair, Department of Psychotherapy and Spirituality, St. Stephen’s College, University of Alberta

Moderated by:

Dr. Katy Kamkar, PhD, CPsych
Clinical Psychologist
Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Temerty Faculty of Medicine,
University of Toronto


Register here


This event will be presented in English with the option of simultaneous captions or audio translation in French.

If you wish to make use of this translation service during the webinar: after joining the meeting, please open a browser window (on your desktop, phone, or other device) and use the following link:

This will enable you to log in to Wordly, our simultaneous translation platform. Be sure to select ‘French’ in the top right corner and keep this window open throughout the meeting.


Do you have any questions for our panelists? We hope to answer as many of our audience questions as possible at this event! Email yours to:


Download poster


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