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Research Summaries

Examining how organizational leaders perceive internet-delivered cognitive behavioural therapy for public safety personnel using the RE-AIM implementation framework

Keywords: Digital Mental Health, First Responders, Implementation Research, Internet-Delivered Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (ICBT), Learning Health Systems, PSPNET, Public Safety Personnel (PSP), Qualitative

Why was the study done?

Canadian public safety personnel (PSP) have elevated rates of mental health disorders and face barriers to accessing care. Public Safety Canada established PSPNET to develop and research internet-delivered cognitive behavioural therapy (ICBT) tailored for PSP, and previous studies have shown positive outcomes for PSP using ICBT. Because most PSPNET clients first hear about PSP through work-related organizations, PSP leaders have an important role to play in supporting PSPNET’s implementation (e.g., by spreading the word about PSPNET). Therefore, we conducted this study to explore PSP leaders’ views of PSPNET. Guided by the RE-AIM evaluation framework, we assessed five specific dimensions of leaders’ views: reach (is PSPNET viewed as successfully reaching PSP?), effectiveness (are PSPNET’s programs viewed as effective?), adoption (are PSP organizations promoting PSPNET?), implementation (what strengths and weaknesses do PSP leaders see in PSPNET?), and maintenance (is the long-term maintenance of PSPNET viewed as important?).

What was done in the study?

Ten leaders of PSP organizations were interviewed to explore their views on PSPNET and ways to enhance the implementation of ICBT among PSP. We analyzed transcripts of these interviews, using the RE-AIM evaluation framework as a guide.

What did we find out?

Leaders viewed PSPNET as successful in reaching and assisting both PSP individuals and organizations. The implementation of ICBT was perceived to be effective, particularly because it is available to individual PSP and improved access to therapists with specialized training in supporting PSP. Participants mentioned that organizations have actively promoted and plan to continue supporting PSPNET long-term, which aids in PSPNET’s adoption and sustainability.

Key factors perceived to have contributed to successful service delivery included establishing strong relationships and trust with PSP organizations and overall support for mental health initiatives among PSP leadership. Leaders also noted areas for enhancing ICBT implementation, such as:

1. Ensuring leaders have access to data on PSPNET usage and outcomes;

2. Developing promotional materials (e.g., videos);

3. Expanding the availability of PSPNET to other provinces and territories; and,

4. Providing more options for therapist support.

Where do we go from here?

Future studies could assess the implementation of PSPNET using different research methods instead of interviews. Research could also help identify barriers to the implementation of PSPNET by seeking out the perspectives of PSP leaders who have chosen not to support PSPNET. As well, future research could explore PSP leaders’ perceptions of tailored ICBT across different PSP sectors and regions.


The original wording of the study was changed and condensed for the current research summary.


Original study

Beahm, J., McCall, H., Carleton, R. N., Jones, N., Hadjistavropoulos, H. Examining how organizational leaders perceive internet-delivered cognitive behavioural therapy for public safety personnel using the RE-AIM implementation framework. Internet Interventions, Volume 35, 2024, 100718, ISSN 2214-7829,

Prepared by K. Harris

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