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Optimizing Internet-Delivered Cognitive Therapy for Public Safety Personnel Using Leaders’ Feedback

Authors: Beahm, J.D., Carleton, R.N., & Hadjistavropoulos, H.D. 2022.

Topics: ICBT


Why was the study done?

PSPNET has tailored internet-delivered cognitive behavioural therapy (ICBT) to public safety personnel (PSP) to help address increased rates of mental health challenges within this population and overcome barriers to care. ICBT refers to a form of cognitive behavioural therapy that is delivered online in the form of a course and has shown to be as effective as face-to-face therapy. PSPNET offers both therapist-assisted and self-guided ICBT. PSPNET has previously used user feedback to evaluate and make iterative changes to ICBT. The current study was created to seek feedback from PSP leaders to further evaluate and optimize PSPNET.

What was done in the study?

PSP leaders from Saskatchewan (­n = 10) completed an interview on their perceptions of PSPNET. PSP leaders were asked to identify strengths and weaknesses of the program, including areas for improvement.

What did we find out?


  • PSP leaders reported that information about PSPNET is reaching PSP within their organizations
  • Factors that helped reach PSP included PSPNET building trust and relationships with PSP and support from PSP leaders and organizations
  • Challenges for reaching PSP include:
    • general barriers to mental health care (e.g., stigma, time, confidentiality),
    • information overload (PSP receive too many emails),
    • and organization specific barriers (e.g., decentralized organizations)


  • PSP leaders reported believing PSPNET is beneficial for individual PSP as well as PSP organizations
  • PSP leaders reported that PSPNET is helping to improve awareness about posttraumatic stress injuries within their organization


  • PSP leaders identified the characteristics of PSPNET’s ICBT (e.g., no cost, knowledgeable therapist support, accessibility) and promotional activities of PSPNET as factors that have made PSPNET successful
  • Some ideas for improving PSPNET included:
    • Creating more promotional videos
    • Emphasizing the preventative aspects of PSPNET
    • Increasing the availability of PSPNET (e.g., access to therapist support across Canada)


  • PSP leaders are willing to continue to support and promote PSPNET and believe losing PSPNET would negatively affect their organization

Where do we go from here?

The results show that ICBT is viewed as valuable by PSP leaders and provide insight into best practices for promoting tailored ICBT (e.g., building relationships). The PSPNET team is using the feedback from PSP leaders to further improve services. For instance, the team is working on expanding therapist-assisted PSPNET to other provinces and is continuing to build relationships with PSP organizations.

Original Story

Optimizing internet-delivered cognitive therapy for public safety personnel using leaders’ feedback. Read publication here.

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