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Sustaining and Expanding Internet-Delivered Cognitive Behavioual Therapy (ICBT) for Public Safety Personnel across Canada: A Survey of Stakeholder Perspectives

Authors: Landry, C.A., Beahm, J.D., McCall, H.C., Hadjistavropoulos, H.D. 2023.

Topics: ICBT


Why Was the Study Done?

Public Safety Personnel (PSP) have an elevated risk of developing mental health problems and face barriers to accessing mental health treatments.

This study investigated:

  • How PSP across Canada perceive internet-delivered cognitive behaviour therapy (ICBT) tailored to meet their needs.
  • The level of organizational support for tailored ICBT within PSP organizations.
  • Perceived facilitators and barriers to funding tailored ICBT.

The overarching purpose of the study was to develop strategies to provide ICBT to a greater number of PSP.


What was Done in the Study?

524 PSP across Canada participated in an online survey. They were asked to view a short video and brochure about PSPNET. Then, they answered questions about the advantages and disadvantages of tailored ICBT and factors that could help or hinder the implementation of PSPNET. 262 participants who self-identified as leaders were asked some additional questions about their perceptions of PSPNET. The survey was completed between November 2021 and March 2022.


What Did We Find Out?

  • 72% of participants indicated that they had not heard about PSPNET before the survey, and 97% reported never having used PSPNET or any other form of online therapy.
  • On average, PSP agreed or strongly agreed that mental health problems are common within their occupations and that PSPNET should be easily and freely accessible to them.
  • PSP identified the following characteristics as PSPNET’s greatest advantages:
    • Accessibility at any time and location
    • Minimal wait time
    • Free service
    • Therapist guidance for 16 weeks
  • When asked about potential disadvantages of PSPNET, PSP identified the following as mild concerns about PSPNET:
    • Absence of face-to-face interaction
    • ICBT may require more motivation than face-to-face therapy
    • Reading material could be fatiguing
  • PSP leaders, on average, agreed or strongly agreed that:
    • PSPNET should be available and prioritized within their organizations
    • PSPNET would be an effective treatment option for PSP in their organizations
    • They would personally advocate for PSPNET to be made available within their organizations
  • 3% of participants who self-identified as leaders indicated that PSPNET should be funded by the government, and 38% indicated that greater evidence of the success of ICBT would help facilitate funding.


Where Do We Go From Here?

  • A key limitation of this study is that the PSP who decided to participate might be more responsive to the mental health needs of PSP and more supportive of PSPNET than the PSP who heard about the study and decided not to participate. As a result, our findings may overestimate the degree to which Canadian PSP have favorable attitudes towards PSPNET
  • Some key insights that were gained from this study are:
    • PSP believe ICBT is valuable and needed, and they are willing to support its implementation
    • PSP believe that there is an increased need for funding, especially from the government, to address mental health services


Original Story

Sustaining and expanding internet-delivered cognitive behavioural therapy (ICBT) for public safety personnel across Canada: A survey of stakeholder perspectives. Read publication here.

The original wording of the study was changed and condensed for the current research summary.


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