PSPNET Celebrates Third Anniversary of Serving first responders and other public safety personnel
Topics: ICBT, Mental Health
January 2023 marked three years since the launch of the first PSPNET project, the PSP Wellbeing Course, following a pilot version of the course that began in November 2019
PSPNET is honored to celebrate its third year of supporting the mental health of Public Safety Personnel (PSP).
The PSP Wellbeing Course officially launched in January 2020 following a pilot version of the course that began on November 29, 2019. The course was designed to provide PSP with free guidance on simple but effective techniques for managing various mental health concerns, such as depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic injuries. PSPNET continues to provide services and is now available as a free, confidential self-guided course online across the country, in addition to the original therapist-guided course, which is available in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, and Quebec.
The PSP Wellbeing Course is part of the wider PSPNET mission within the Government of Canada’s National Action Plan on Posttraumatic Stress Injuries, which is to offer and evaluate internet-delivered cognitive behaviour therapy, also known as ICBT, tailored for current and former PSP. Examples of sectors served include border services officers, correctional workers, firefighters, Indigenous emergency managers, operational intelligence personnel, paramedics, police, public safety communicators, and search and rescue personnel.
Since the launch of the PSP Wellbeing Course, PSPNET has expanded and is now offering the PTSD Course, which is tailored to clients who are concerned more specifically with the symptoms of posttraumatic stress. This course is currently available with therapist guidance in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and Saskatchewan. PSPNET is critical as it helps PSP navigate substantial barriers they face when seeking care, such as cost, availability of evidence-based resources, shift work, and stigma.
PSPNET has seen remarkable success so far, with 752 clients having completed or signed up for therapist-guided courses. An additional 321 clients have started treatment through the self-guided services. Research shows over 95-98% of those who complete post-treatment measures would refer the program to a friend.
PSP families also face their own challenges, but dedicated resources for families have been limited. Recent additional funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada has allowed us to expand our self-guided Wellbeing Course to PSP spouses and collaborate in the launch of pspnetfamilies.ca in December 2022 to offer additional support for families of PSP.
“When we began this journey, one thing was very apparent – there was little to no online therapy support tailored to public safety personnel when it came to their mental health,” said Dr. Heather Hadjistavropoulos, Principal Investigator of PSPNET. “We have worked hard to understand and to meet the needs of PSP community, and their families, as we strongly believe it is critical to have accessible treatment options for PSP. We hope to see further uptake in all of our programs as PSP continue to navigate the pandemic, occupational stressors and common barriers when attempting to seek mental health support, such as cost, proximity to available services and logistics such as shift work and stigma.”
To learn more about PSPNET and how to sign up, visit https://www.pspnet.ca/
PSPNET is a clinical unit within the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment (CIPSRT) based at the University of Regina and funded by the Government of Canada with additional funding from the provinces of NB, NS, and PEI and the Medavie Foundation. PSPNET delivers services online and makes use of Internet-delivered cognitive behaviour therapy (ICBT) programs initially developed at Macquarie University in Australia and tailored to public safety personnel (PSP). The PSPNET team includes diverse clinical staff with extensive experience specifically working with PSP.
PSPNET offers two programs: 1) the PSP Wellbeing Course for clients who have diverse mental health concerns (in self-guided and therapist-guided format); 2) the PSP PTSD Course, which is tailored to clients who are primarily concerned with symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (In therapist-guided format).
The research team is led by Dr. Heather Hadjistavropoulos.
For more on PSPNET, please visit: https://www.pspnet.ca
About PSPNET Families
The PSPNET Families Wellbeing Hub is developed through funding by the Public Health Agency of Canada. It provides an accessible online hub of evidence-based, trauma-informed mental health promotion resources, created and delivered with a rich foundation and understanding of what it means to be “on the job” for the family members of PSP. The team comprises three co-principal investigators from Queen’s University and the University of Regina, international consultants, and research assistants.
For more on PSPNET Families, please visit: www.pspnetfamilies.ca
About the University of Regina
The University of Regina, located on Treaty 4 and Treaty 6 territories, the ancestral lands of the Cree, Saulteaux, Dakota, Lakota and Nakoda nations and the homeland of the Métis—is a comprehensive, mid-sized university that traces its roots back to the creation of Regina College in 1911. Today, more than 16,000 students study within the University’s 10 faculties. The university has an established reputation for excellence and innovative programs that lead to undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral degrees.
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