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An augmented training program for preventing posttraumatic stress injuries among diverse public safety personnel

Keywords: mental health training, PTSI

Summary

Exposure to potentially traumatic events (PTE) in the workplace is common in public safety personnel (PSP). Even with many groups offering solutions to build resiliency, there is little evidence that the currently offered programs are effective.

There is a study currently underway in the RCMP to test an evidence-based mental health training program during cadet training. This program is coupled with psychological safety training for RCMP leadership. This project will extend this training to four other PSP groups: emergency communications, firefighters, municipal police, and paramedics.

Participants will receive 13 hours of PSP-tailored mental health skills training based on the Unified Protocol (UP) for cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Leadership will be provided with the same training plus specialized training for building psychologically safe workplaces. Participants will be evaluated using detailed self-report surveys and clinical interviews pre-, post-, and 12 months after training.

In addition to the surveys and interviews, specialized technology will be pilot-tested to assess whether a PTSI can be identified using biological signals.

Future directions

This study will determine if this tailored training can support the mental health needs of a diverse group of PSP and leaders. If successful, the model could be deployed Canada-wide.

Principal Researchers

R. Nicholas Carleton, Scientific Director of CIPSRT and Professor of Psychology at the University of Regina

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