As part of the Government of Canada's Action Plan on Post-traumatic Stress Injuries, the University of Regina is developing an Internet-delivered cognitive behaviour therapy (ICBT) program for Public Safety Personnel (PSP).
This project has been named PSP-NET
This project is led by Dr. Heather Hadjistavropoulos, Executive Director of the Online Therapy Unit, and Dr. Nicholas Carleton, Scientific Director the Canadian Institute of Public Safety Research and Treatment.
The intent is to create an ICBT program tailored for PSP including, but not necessarily limited to, public safety communications officials (e.g., call centre operators/dispatchers), correctional workers and officers, firefighters, paramedics, and police officers. Specifically, ICBT will be tailored for PSP who self-report problems with anxiety, depression, or trauma.
This course is designed to be helpful for PSP who have mental health concerns and are faced with geographical barriers (e.g., difficulty accessing care while posted to remote locations), logistical barriers (e.g., shift work limits access to standard service hours), stigma barriers (e.g., perceptions of being evaluated negatively for having mental health concerns), limited resources (e.g., insufficient access), and or simply a preference for this type of service.
ICBT involves using the Internet to provide strategies that are typically covered in face-to-face cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) for depression, anxiety, or trauma. These programs present lesson materials online on a weekly basis typically over 8 weeks. Clients are typically sent automated emails that encourage them to complete the lessons. Lessons are presented in an engaging manner and assignments are given at the end of each lesson to help with learning strategies. The program can be offered either 1) with weekly therapist support in the form or emails and phone calls; or 2) in a self-directed manner with optional therapist support.
The Online Therapy Unit is involved adapting ICBT programs that were developed in Australia and have been used successfully adapted, used and researched in Saskatchewan with over 5000 residents for the past five years ( https://www.onlinetherapyuser.ca/our-research).
The PSP-NET project is intended to be offered and evaluated first in English and then in French.
By the end of the program, we intend to have an evidence-based model for how to deliver ICBT to PSP that will inform future treatment of PSP.
Updates on the project will be available on the following website starting in July 2019: www.pspnet.ca
If you are interested in learning more information about the project, please contact:
Dr. Heather Hadjistavropoulos at firstname.lastname@example.org