Therapist-Guided PSP Wellbeing Course for Mental Health
Now available for FREE to PSP in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, and Quebec.
We take information typically shared in face-to-face therapy and put it online in an easy to understand engaging course. We share guidance on simple but effective techniques for various mental health concerns.
Around 60% of our clients report concerns about depression, ~40% report concerns with anxiety, and ~44% report concerns with symptoms of PTSD. About 25% of clients, however, report taking the course for mild or minimal mental health concerns to protect them during times of stress.
If you live in a province or territory where the therapist-guided PSP Wellbeing Course is not currently being offered, or if you would prefer to access the PSP Wellbeing Course on your own, without therapist guidance, consider participating in the Self-Guided PSP Wellbeing Course Study.
The therapist-guided PSP Wellbeing Course helps people manage the thoughts, behaviours, and physical symptoms that are impacting their wellbeing.
Working on your mental health is similar to working on your physical health – ultimately, it is a daily process and this course gives you strategies you can use longer-term. Clients often report improvements start within a few weeks.
We also offer the PSP PTSD Course that focuses on helping clients who are primarily concerned with symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder.
You do not need to select which course you want to enroll in at sign-up. One of our team members can recommend the course that will best suit your needs during our telephone screening.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why was this course developed?
This course was designed to be helpful for PSP who have mental health concerns who are looking for a new way to access services or are faced with 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 therapist-guided PSP Wellbeing Course?
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 has adapted the Wellbeing Course for PSP, including First Responders.
What does the therapist-guided PSP Wellbeing Course involve?
The therapist-guided PSP 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 8 weeks, although PSP will have access to the lesson materials for up to one year after enrolling in the course.
There are 5 main lessons but extra materials are available as needed (e.g., to address sleep concerns, social 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.
Lessons are presented in an engaging manner and assignments are given at the end of each lesson to help with learning strategies. Clients are typically sent automated emails that encourage them to complete the lessons.
How much time does it take to complete the therapist-guided PSP Wellbeing Course?
The therapist-guided PSP 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 ten months.
What support is available from therapists?
The therapist-guided PSP Wellbeing Course is therapist-assisted. This means that during the week clients can send questions or comments to their designated therapist though a secure online message system. On a set day each, the therapist checks the website, reviews client progress on the course, and responds to messages. Most contact with the therapist is through secure emails, but sometimes therapists contact clients by phone. The amount of therapist support will depend on the needs of each client. Typically, clients email questions to the therapist during the week and the therapist responds to messages once or twice a week, depending on client preferences.
Therapist support typically starts with 8 weeks and can be extended (up to 16 weeks) in some cases to allow for flexibility for those who require extended support.
Who provides therapist-assistance?
Support is provided by therapists who are trained in this form of treatment. Therapists have graduate training in psychology or social work. Sometimes graduate students provide treatment under the close supervision of a registered mental health care provider.
Will my participation in the therapist-guided PSP Wellbeing Course be kept confidential?
Your participation is confidential. There are, however, some circumstances when we may need to break confidentiality, such as when there is:
- potential, imminent harm to you or others;
- suspected neglect or harm to a child, including the witnessing of violence;
- a court order to release information; or
- where required by legislation.
PSPNET is a research facility. 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?
Throughout treatment (once per week) and then at 8, 16, 26 and 52 weeks after starting treatment, we ask clients to complete questionnaires to help us evaluate the therapist-guided PSP Wellbeing Course. The number of questionnaires varies. Some weeks it takes less than five minutes to respond to questions and other weeks it may take about 20-30 minutes. This feedback is reviewed by the research team without client identity attached. The feedback will help us understand the strengths and challenges of the therapist-guided PSP Wellbeing Course and how to improve the course. We want to understand the extent to which PSP will engage with the course and also how the course will impact symptoms. These questionnaires do not take very long, but provide us with important information on your progress and the outcomes of ICBT.
Who can take part in this course?
The therapist-guided PSP Wellbeing Course is for public safety personnel, including, but not necessarily limited to, first responders, public safety communications officials (e.g., call centre operators/dispatchers), correctional workers and officers, firefighters, paramedics, border security personnel, and police officers.
Specifically, the course is for PSP:
- who self-report problems with anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress injuries;
- are 18 years of age or older;
- comfortable using and have access to the Internet;
- willing to provide a local medical contact in case of emergencies; and
- live in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, or Saskatchewan, and;
- you have 1-3 hours of time each week to spend on the course for the next 8 weeks.
This course is not recommended if you have severe problems with alcohol or drugs, mania, psychosis, or are at high risk of suicide.
Will the therapist-guided PSP Wellbeing Course be offered in French?
The therapist-guided PSP Wellbeing Course is offered in French. Please click here for details.
How long will PSPNET be providing the therapist-guided PSP Wellbeing Course?
Our team is funded until 2025; we are working on a sustainability plan to expand PSPNET beyond 2025.