Exposures to Potentially Traumatic Events Among Public Safety Personnel in Canada (2019)
First responders and other public safety personnel in Canada may be experiencing substantial difficulties with symptoms of mental health disorders. These difficulties may be associated with increased exposure to potentially traumatic events as part of working in public safety, with specific types of events appearing as particularly problematic.
Carleton, R. N., Afifi, T. O., Taillieu, T., Turner, S., Krakauer, R., Anderson, G. S., MacPhee, R. S., Ricciardelli, R, Cramm, H. A., Groll, D., & McCreary, D. R. (2019). Exposures to potentially traumatic events among public safety personnel in Canada. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science / Revue canadienne des sciences du comportement, 51(1), 37-52. doi: 10.1037/cbs0000115
Association Between a History of Child Abuse and Suicidal Ideation, Plans and Attempts among Canadian Public Safety Personnel: A Cross-Sectional Survey (2018)
Public safety personnel experience substantial mental health problems strongly associated with suicide. This study was designed to explore associations between childhood abuse, career-related trauma, and suicidal behaviours. While career-related trauma was significantly associated with suicidal behaviours, experiencing child abuse was found to have an even stronger effect, supporting the recognition of childhood abuse as an important factor related to suicidal behaviours among public safety personnel.
Turner, S., Taillieu, T., Carleton, R. N., Sareen, J., & Afifi, T. (2018). Association between a history of child abuse and suicidal ideation, plans and attempts among Canadian public safety personnel: A cross-sectional survey. Canadian Medical Association Journal Open, 6(4), E463-E470. doi:10.9778/cmajo.20170153
A Longitudinal Assessment of the Road To Mental Readiness Training Among Municipal Police (2018)
Lay Summary “Road to Mental Readiness in a Canadian Police Sample”
The current study was designed to evaluate the effects of a single session of R2MR training on municipal police mental health, work engagement, resiliency, mental health knowledge, and stigma. Despite the current results being mixed, leaders may choose to believe any reductions in stigma to be worthwhile and may choose to believe that trainees’ positive perceptions of R2MR regarding attitude change and communication justify any associated investment.
Carleton, R. N., Korol, S., Mason, J. E., Hozempa, K., Anderson, G. S., Jones, N. A., Dobson, K. S., Szeto, A. & Bailey, S. (2018). A longitudinal assessment of the road to mental readiness training among municipal police. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, 47(6), 508-528. doi: 10.1080/16506073.2018.1475504
Mental Disorder Symptoms Among Public Safety Personnel in Canada (2017)
Canadian public safety personnel are exposed to potentially traumatic events as a function of their work. Such exposures contribute to the risk of developing clinically significant symptoms related to mental disorders. The current study was designed to provide estimates of mental disorder symptom frequencies and severities for Canadian PSP.
Carleton, R. N, Afifi, T. O., Turner, S., Tallieu, T., Duranceau, S., LeBouthillier, D. M., Sareen, J., Ricciardelli, R., MacPhee, R., Groll, D., Hozempa, K., Brunet, A., Weekes, J. R., Griffiths, C. T., Abrams, K. J., Jones, N. A., Beshai, S., Cramm, H. A., Dobson, K. S., Hatcher, S., Keane, T. M., Stewart, S. H., & Asmundson, G. J. G. (2017). Mental disorder symptoms among public safety personnel in Canada. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 63(1), 54-64. doi: 10.1177/0706743717723825
Suicidal Ideation, Plans, and Attempts Among Public Safety Personnel in Canada (2018)
The current study was designed to assess past-year and lifetime suicidal ideation, plans, and attempts amongst a large diverse sample of Canadian PSP. Significant differences were identified across PSP categories in reports of past-year and lifetime suicidal behaviours.
Carleton, R. N., Afifi, T. O., Turner, S., Taillieu, T., LeBouthillier, D. M., Duranceau, S., Sareen, J., Ricciardelli, R., MacPhee, R. S., Groll, D., Hozempa, K., Brunet, A., Weekes, J. R., Griffiths, C. T., Abrams, K. J., Jones, N. A., Beshai, S., Cramm, H. A., Dobson, K. S., Hatcher, S., Keane, T. M., Stewart, S. H., & Asmundson, G. J. G. (2018). Suicidal ideation, plans, and attempts among public safety personnel in Canada. Canadian Psychology/Psychologie canadienne, 59(3), 220-231. doi: 10.1037/cap0000136
Anxiety-Related Psychopathology and Chronic Pain Comorbidity Among Public Safety Personnel (2018)
Public safety personnel appear to be at risk for mental disorders and pain. The results indicated PSP who reported chronic pain were significantly more likely to screen positive for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, or alcohol use disorder. There were differences between PSP categories; but, the most consistent indications of coexistence were for chronic pain, PTSD, and major depressive disorder. Coexistence of chronic pain and mental disorders among PSP is prevalent. Health care providers should regularly assess PSP for both symptom domains.
Carleton, R. N., Afifi, T. O., Taillieu, T., Turner, S., El-Gabalawy, R., Sareen, J., & Asmundson, G. J. G. (2018). Anxiety-related psychopathology and chronic pain comorbidity among public safety personnel. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 55, 48-55. doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2018.03.006
Psychological Health and Safety in the Paramedic Service Organization (2018)
This Standard provides paramedic service organizations and other key stakeholders with requirements and guidance on good practice for the identification and assessment of hazards and management of psychological health and safety (PHS) risks for paramedic service organizations and the promotion of improved psychological health and safety.
Canadian Standards Association. (2018). Psychological health and safety in the paramedic service organization (Standard No. CSA Z-1003.1-18). Toronto, Ont.: Canadian Standards Association.
Qualitatively Unpacking Canadian Public Safety Personnel Experiences of Trauma and Their Well-Being: Physical Manifestations, Psychological Implications, and Fatalistic Attitudes (2018)
Public safety personnel report experiencing extensive trauma, directly and vicariously, acutely and cumulatively. The effects of this trauma on personnel and their family members are reported as physical, psychological, and social or interpersonal impacts, as well as marital breakdown and relationship dissolution with children, and increased family stress, strain, and anger. PSP also reported they felt that nothing would change, that they had no voice, and that both their employer and the different levels of government did not care about their well-being.
Ricciardelli, R., Carleton, R. N., Groll, D., & Cramm, H. (2018). Qualitatively unpacking Canadian public safety personnel experiences of trauma and their well-being. Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice, 60(4), 566-577. doi: 10.3138/cjccj.2017-0053.r2
Chronic Pain Among Public Safety Personnel in Canada (2017)
Public safety personnel were asked to evaluate their mental and physical wellbeing, including whether they were currently experiencing chronic pain. Survey results show that not only do Canadian PSP experience more chronic pain than the average Canadian, but experiencing chronic pain appears to be linked to experiencing a mental health disorder, such as PTSD, major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and alcohol use disorder.
Carleton, R. N., Afifi, T. O., Turner, S., Taillieu, T., El-Gabalawy, R., Sareen, J., & Asmundson, G. J. G. (2017). Chronic pain among public safety personnel in Canada. Canadian Journal of Pain, 1(1), 237-246. doi: 10.1080/24740527.2017.1410431
An Integrated Approach to Mental Health in First Responders and Other Public Safety Personnel: A Five-Phase Plan – Strathcona County Emergency Services (2017)
Strathcona County Disability Management explored service standards and programs to address an increase in lost hours and costs due to mental illness, including operational stress injuries, in an effort to apply best practices with regards to mental health. Resistance, resiliency and recovery are supported through Disability Management, prompt access to evidence-based care and a culturally competent provider, Peer Support, a Chaplaincy, and Employee and Family Assistance programming, as well as access to counselling services through extended health care benefits and third- party providers. Advancements made to date have prompted significant cultural change with respect to stigma reduction and increasing help-seeking behaviour. Further, costs associated with WCB-AB claims due to Occupational Stress Injury (OSI) were reduced to zero in 2015, in 2016, and in 2017 to date.
Strathcona County Emergency Services. (2017). An integrated approach to mental health in first responders and other public safety personnel: A five-phase plan. Sherwood Park, AB: Strathcona County.
Critical Incident Reintegration Program – Edmonton Police (2017)
A streamlined, peer-driven return-to-work program for police officers and other public safety personnel, featuring an interactive process of dealing with the stress of a critical incident. The program has two variants: short term and long term.
Edmonton Police Service. (2017). Critical incident reintegration program. Edmonton, AB: Edmonton Police Service.
Peer Support and Crisis-Focused Psychological Intervention Programs in Canadian First Responders: Blue Paper (2016)
There is an urgent need for more research on the effectiveness of peer support and crisis-focused psychological intervention programs designed to help public service personnel cope with work trauma. The operational stressors, which include death, violence, and threats to their own lives, put PSP at risk for psychological challenges, including post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety, and anger. Such challenges can lead to other problems, such as substance abuse, relationship difficulties, and absenteeism.
Beshai, S., & Carleton, R. N. (2016). Peer support and crisis-focused psychological intervention programs in Canadian first responders: Blue Paper. Regina, SK: University of Regina Collaborative Centre for Justice and Safety. Available from: http://www.justiceandsafety.ca/rsu_docs/blue_paper_full_web_final_production_aug_16_2016.pdf