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May 21, 2024

Panel discussion: Shifting barriers – Destigmatizing posttraumatic stress injuries among first responders and other public safety personnel

Thursday, June 6, 2024
11:00 am CST (Regina) | 1:00 pm EDT (Ottawa) | 2:30 pm NST (St. John’s)

A growing body of research highlights the ways that frequent exposure to trauma can negatively impact the mental health of first responders and other public safety personnel, and contribute to the development of operational, or posttraumatic stress injuries (PTSI). Recent data suggests that approximately 44.5% of Canadian public safety personnel screen positive for one or more mental health disorders – with 23.2% of those PSP screening positive for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Despite the relatively high proportion of mental health injury experienced by PSP, stigma can present a significant barrier to treatment-seeking and organizational culture change around mental health. The pressure to maintain an image of strength can be high within PSP professions, and the stigma of mental health injury can have differential impacts across sectors. Perpetuated institutionally, stigma can negatively influence organizational policies and practices. Interpersonally, stigma can increase avoidance and mistrust of those who report mental health injury. Additionally, individuals can self-stigmatize with negative beliefs around mental health that impede their own help-seeking.

In support of PTSD Awareness Month, CIPSRT presents a panel discussion on the impacts of posttraumatic stress injuries, PTSD, and the ongoing challenge that stigma poses to mental health and wellbeing among PSP.


Michael Ainger
Employee Mental Health Unit
Correctional Service Canada

Dr. Rose Ricciardelli
Research Chair, Safety, Security, and Wellness
Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland

Robyn Shields, MSc.
Doctoral Student (Clinical Psychology)
University of Regina
Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment (CIPSRT)
Anxiety and Illness Behaviour Lab

Moderated by:

Dr. Katie Andrews
Research Associate
Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment (CIPSRT)



Download poster

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.



Carleton, R. N., Afifi, T. O., Turner, S., Taillieu, T., Duranceau, S.,LeBouthillier, D. M., . . . Asmundson, G. J. G. (2018). Mental disorder symptoms among public safety personnel. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 63, 54 – 64.

Krakauer RL, Stelnicki AM, Carleton RN. Examining Mental Health Knowledge, Stigma, and Service Use Intentions Among Public Safety Personnel. Front Psychol. 2020 May 29;11:949. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00949. PMID: 32547443; PMCID: PMC7273931.


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