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Do public safety personnel who provide peer support suffer from vicarious trauma?

Keywords: Peer Support, PeerOnCall, Public Safety Personnel (PSP)


As the use of peer support becomes widespread, there is a concern that the mental health of peer supporters may be affected by hearing the traumatic stories of their colleagues.

In the current study, researchers will partner with the PeerOnCall app to study the possible impacts on peer supporters’ mental health. Peer supporters who are enrolled in the PeerOnCall program will complete a survey at the beginning and three and six months after it starts. The survey will ask about individual symptoms of distress like anxiety, sleep, and mood, as well as organizational factors which reflect stress, such as burnout or feeling betrayed by an organization.

The researchers believe that peers distressed by organizational factors are more likely to show signs of distress at six months. Qualitative interviews will also be conducted to ask about peers’ experience of providing peer support.

Principal Investigator

Simon Hatcher, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

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