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Developing cultural competency training for crisis line responders caring for Canadian public safety personnel

Keywords: Mental Health, Public Safety Personnel (PSP)


Public safety personnel (PSP) are routinely exposed to stressful situations, which increase their risk for negative mental health impacts – including anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress injuries. The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened many of these stressors and has likely had long-term impacts on their mental health. Despite this, there is a lack of evidence-informed training available for crisis line responders on the specific mental health needs of PSP.

Building on our existing knowledge, this project aims to:

  1. Refine and finalize our pre-existing PSP cultural competency framework using data from Canadian PSP collected by the TRRU for a previous CIHR catalyst grant on Canadian PSP;
  2. Develop a virtual training course (at an appropriate training level and sensitive to trauma-informed principles of suicide prevention and crisis intervention) to educate crisis line responders on the specific needs and experiences of Canadian PSP; and,
  3. Host these training materials online at no cost for future learners.

Data from our ongoing survey of the mental health and wellbeing of Canadian PSP and interviews of PSP between February 2021 and June 2023, along with the identification of factors (including sex, gender, and intersectional identity) influencing PSP mental health, will be leveraged towards building upon the framework, key themes, and training materials.

Overall, the Canadian PSP workforce is facing a crisis as an increasing number of personnel are considering leaving the profession. Addressing the mental health needs of PSP is critical to ensuring the sustainability of this workforce, and this project will contribute to crisis line responders’ ability to provide culturally responsive support to Canadian PSP.

Principle Investigators

Margaret McKinnon and Kim Ritchie, McMaster University and Trent University

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