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Expansion and Evaluation of the Before Operational Stress Program

Keywords: Before Operational Stress (BOS), Public Safety Personnel (PSP)


Public safety personnel (PSP) in Canada are frequently exposed to potentially psychologically traumatic events (PPTE) (Carleton et al., 2019). Frequent PPTE exposures can have lasting health consequences including several different posttraumatic stress injuries (PTSI) such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (Regehr & Bober, 2005). A recent study of PSP across Canada (n = 5813) showed 44.5% of the sample screened positive for a mental health disorder (Carleton et al., 2018) and many reported high levels of lifetime suicidal ideation (28%), planning (13%), and attempts (5%) (Carleton et al., 2018b).

The Before Operational Stress program (BOS) is a proactive mental health training program designed by Dr. Megan McElheran and delivered through Wayfound Mental Health Group. A recent study of BOS showed that participating PSP experience statistically significant improvements in symptoms of PTSD, major depressive disorder, and quality of life (Stelnicki et al., 2021a). BOS is an evidence-informed 8-week, group-based training program designed specifically for PSP that has also been adapted to other professions impacted by operational and organizational stress. The BOS program is aimed at increasing the psychological resilience of frontline workers who are exposed to trauma within their occupational roles.

This project will deploy the established evidence-informed BOS program training through three modalities (i.e., in-person, virtual, digital modalities) to a proposed overall sample of over 100,000 PSP and frontline healthcare workers. The researchers anticipate that the proposed project will enhance the capacity of individuals, providers, and organizations to address trauma and PTSD.

Interested in Participating?

If you are interested in taking the BOS training and in participating the research project to evaluates BOS training effectiveness visit

Research Team

Dr. Nicholas Carleton, Dr. Jill Price, Kirby Maguire, Dr. Gabriela Ioachim from the University of Regina.

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