PSPNET Families is currently offering the Wellbeing Course to spouses or significant others (SSO) of current or former public safety personnel (PSP). It is a self-guided internet-delivered cognitive behavioural therapy (ICBT) program that is designed to help with low mood, worry, anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder.
This self-guided course provides education and guidance on simple techniques you can take to help manage mental health concerns both daily and over the long term. These include, low mood, depression, worry, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress.
This course is accessible to all spouses or significant others in Canada who have access to the internet. It consists of five main lessons designed to take between eight and 10 weeks to complete at your own pace.
What to know:
Lessons typically take two to four hours to review information and practice skills learned.
- Each lesson includes assignments and a do-it-yourself guide that help you apply new strategies.
- You may access extra materials beyond the five main lessons that help support additional concerns outside the program’s scope (e.g. sleep, relationships, problem solving).
- We will send you emails of encouragement to keep you on track.
- An online discussion forum connects you with other participants. This is optional, confidential and administered by our PSPNET team.
- Course materials are accessible for up to two months after you’ve finished.
PSPNET Families is a research unit. That means when you take this course, we may use your information for research and scholarly purposes – but note that any identifiable details will remain confidential.
Our research team aims to understand how well the course meets the needs of spouses or significant others of PSP by assessing engagement levels and whether symptoms improve. To this end, we ask you to complete a full questionnaire at the start and end of the course, and short surveys every few weeks during the course. You may be invited to a phone or Zoom interview as well.
Your feedback is used to help us gauge whether the course is working as intended, and to identify areas of improvement.
To be eligible for this course, you:
- Are a (past or current) spouse or significant other of a (past or current) PSP
- Are over 18 years of age
- Reside in Canada
- Have reliable access to the internet
- Do not report a primary problem of psychosis, mania, or substance abuse
- Must be willing to complete a course evaluation
- Have a minimum of two hours time each week to dedicate for eight weeks in total
Your participation in the course is confidential. In rare circumstance, however, we may need to break confidentiality, namely:
- If there is reason to suspect a potential risk of imminent harm to you or others
- If there is reason to suspect neglect or harm to a child (including bearing witness to violence)
- If a court order or legislation requires us to release information
Why was this course developed?
This course was designed to be helpful for spouses and significant others of PSP who are looking for a new way to access services to improve their wellbeing, perhaps because of barriers for accessing care such as:
- geographical barriers (e.g., difficulty accessing care while posted to remote locations);
- logistical barriers (e.g., shift work limits access to standard service hours, busy work and family life);
- stigma barriers (e.g., perceptions of being evaluated negatively for having mental health concerns); or
- limited resources (e.g., insufficient access).
Who developed the Spouse Wellbeing Course?
An Internet-delivered Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (ICBT) course called the Wellbeing Course was originally developed at Macquarie University in Australia and was then adapted and researched by the Online Therapy Unit at the University of Regina. The Wellbeing Course has shown success as a treatment for anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder. PSPNET then adapted the Wellbeing Course for PSP. The SSO Wellbeing Course is a version of the PSP Wellbeing Course developed for spouses and significant others of PSP rather than PSP themselves. We are now evaluating the SSO Wellbeing Course for the first time.
What does the Spouse Wellbeing Course Involve?
The SSO Wellbeing Course is an internet-delivered cognitive behaviour therapy (ICBT) program. ICBT involves using the internet to deliver the same treatment content that is normally covered in face-to-face cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) for depression, anxiety, or posttraumatic injuries. Lesson materials are presented online on a weekly basis over the course of 8 weeks.
- There are 5 main lessons, but extra materials are available to provide support for problems not directly addressed in the main lessons (e.g., sleep concerns, relationships, problem solving). Each lesson typically takes clients 1 hour to review the materials online, and 1-3 hours to practice the skills taught in the course, such as using the DIY Guides at the end of each lesson. Clients may access these materials at any time.
- Lessons are presented in an engaging manner, and assignments are given at the end of each lesson to help with learning the strategies. Clients are typically sent automated emails that encourage them to complete the lessons.
- Clients will also have access to an Online Discussion Forum as a place to discuss experiences with other spouses and significant others of PSP who are trying to improve their mental health. The Online Discussion Forum is voluntary, confidential and moderated by members of the PSPNET team.
How much time does it take to complete the Spouse Wellbeing Course?
The SSO Wellbeing Course was designed to take 8-10 weeks for clients to work through the 5 main lessons. Each lesson typically takes clients 1 hour to review the materials online, and 1-3 hours to practice the skills taught in the course, such as using the DIY Guides at the end of each lesson. We highly encourage clients to schedule in time each week to work through the material within 8 weeks. After the first 8 weeks, clients may still access the course materials for another 8 weeks to print off any materials of interest.
Is support available from therapists?
The SSO Wellbeing Course is NOT therapist-assisted.
Will my participation in the Spouse Wellbeing Course be kept confidential?
Your participation is confidential. There are, however, some rare circumstances under which we may need to break confidentiality:
- If through participating there is reason for us to suspect there is a risk of potential, imminent harm to you or others (e.g., if you emailed the PSPNET team and described plans to harm yourself or someone else).
- If through participating there is reason for us to suspect neglect or harm to a child, including the witnessing of violence (e.g., if you emailed the PSPNET team and described neglecting or harming a child).
- If a court order requires us to release information.
- If we are required to release information by legislation.
PSPNET Families is a research unit. As such, when your information is used for research and scholarly purposes, we de-identify the information used for these purposes. This means that your information will only ever be analyzed and presented in a way such that you are not identifiable.
What research is being done on this course?
Before enrolling in the study and again at 8 weeks after enrolling in the study, we ask clients to complete questionnaires to help us evaluate the SSO Wellbeing Course. We also ask clients to complete extremely brief questionnaires at 2, 4, and 6 weeks after enrolling in the study. Participants may also be invited to participate in a phone or Zoom interview.
This feedback is reviewed by the research team to help us understand the strengths and challenges of the SSO Wellbeing Course and how to improve the course. We want to understand the extent to which spouses and significant others of PSP will engage with the course and also how the course will impact symptoms. These questionnaires do not take very long, but they provide us with important information on your progress and the outcomes of ICBT.
Will the Spouse Wellbeing Course be offered in French?
The SSO Wellbeing Course is not currently offered in French, but we hope to translate it in the future pending the results of the current research.
How long will PSPNET Families be providing the SSO Wellbeing Course?
The SSO Wellbeing Course is currently funded until March 2023. However, we hope to continue offering the SSO Wellbeing Course in the future if funding can be secured and pending the initial results of our research on the course.
Where can I find out more information?
For information about the SSO Wellbeing Course, contact 1-833-317-7233, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Create a PSPNET account and complete the eligibility screening questionnaire at the link below. A PSPNET team member will then contact you by email to confirm your eligibility and sign you up for the SSO Wellbeing Course.