PSPNET Families Wellbeing Hub – PSP NET

PSPNET Families Wellbeing Hub

The PSPNET Families Wellbeing Hub team is developing mental health promotion resources and supports to complement PSPNET, a federally-funded online platform that offers internet-delivered cognitive behaviour therapy (ICBT) for Public Safety Personnel (PSP).

One of these resources is now available, The Spouse or Significant Others Wellbeing Course is an 8-week, internet-delivered, self-directed, cognitive behavioural therapy course, aimed at supporting the spouse of a PSP or first responder navigate their own wellbeing. Topics include: Identifying the cycle of symptoms, managing unhelpful thoughts, managing physical symptoms, managing avoidance and safety behaviours, and relapse prevention. In addition, SSOs can review additional resources on diverse mental health topics (e.g., alcohol misuse, sleep, anger, assertiveness, grief) and participate in a therapist-guided discussion forum. 

Find out more about PSPNET Families below.

What does it mean to be a member of a public safety personnel (PSP) family?  

The families of PSP experience unique challenges associated with the occupational risks and requirements of being connected with PSP. Families are diverse and complex. So, if there is someone in your life that you care about that is connected to an occupation which has a high level of risks and requirements, this resource/hub is for you. This can include parents, close friends, adult siblings, adult children, boyfriends or girlfriends, and spouses/partners/significant others of police, fire, paramedics, communications, corrections.

PSP families often grapple with the dynamic requirements related to shift work, trauma exposure, and being out-of-sync with the broader communities in which they find themselves. Serving alongside their loved ones who ensure the safety and security of our communities, PSP families have highlighted the lack of supports created specifically with and for them, in their own right. 

Responding to the unique needs of PSP families – the creation of PSPNET Families

The challenges associated with serving as a Public Safety Personnel have been increasingly recognized. The Canadian Institute of Public Safety Research & Treatment (CIPSRT) was launched as a hub to engage with public safety personnel, their leaders, and families. One of the supports that was developed to improve access to mental health services for PSP was PSPNET, an evidence-based Internet-delivered cognitive behaviour therapy (ICBT) to PSP.  Launched in 2020, its success has led to therapist-guided ICBT being offered in five provinces (SK, QC, NS, NB, PEI) and self-guided ICBT being available to PSP across Canada. 

What was soon recognized, however, was that there were limited resources ‘out there’ for PSP partners including spouses, and significant others (SSO). What also became apparent was that, in addition to offering support for spouses and significant others, there needed to be something for families that offered information and mental health promotion resources to support PSP families members in their own right.  

PSPNET Families, a virtual wellbeing hub, was conceptualized as complementary to PSPNET, and recognizes the unique lifestyle demands that PSP families experience everyday.

What is PSPNET Families?

The PSPNET Families wellbeing hub 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. 

To build out from PSPNET, the PSPNET Families virtual wellbeing hub offers: 

  • Families Resources are informational/psychoeducational in nature to explore the dynamic requirements related to shift work, trauma exposure, the occupational risks and requirements, and the identity and organizational strengths and challenges experienced by PSP families.  
  • The Couples Toolkit offers concrete strategies and skill building exercises in relation to the content explored in the Families Resources. The content explored in the Couples Toolkit include, but are not limited to: problem solving, extending one’s support system, communication strategies, supporting healthy work to home transitions, childcare, etc. 
  • The Spouse or Significant Others Wellbeing Course is an adaptation from PSPNET’s PSP Wellbeing Course, with a specific shift to the spouse or significant other (SSOs) as primary audience.  This is an 8-week, internet-delivered, self-directed, cognitive behavioural therapy course, aimed at supporting individual SSO’s navigate their own wellbeing. Topics include: Identifying the cycle of symptoms, managing unhelpful thoughts, managing physical symptoms, managing avoidance and safety behaviours, and relapse prevention. In addition, SSOs can review additional resources on diverse mental health topics (e.g., alcohol misuse, sleep, anger, assertiveness, grief) and participate in a therapist-guided discussion forum. 

Together, the SSO Wellbeing Course, the Couples Toolkit, and the Families Resources comprise the PSPNET Families wellbeing hub. PSPNET Families online wellbeing hub is designed to support adult family members to move among and between the offerings in ways that are supportive of their needs and experiences at any given moment. PSPNET Families online wellbeing hub has ensured its commitment to representation, career life-cycle, family life-cycle, and organizational dimensions.   

PSPNET Families Wellbeing Hub receives funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  • Families of public safety personnel (PSP) experience unique lifestyle demands that challenge them every day. Whether the PSP works in the fire, police, paramedic, communications, or corrections sector, they grapple with dynamic requirements related to shiftwork, traumatic exposure, and being out-of-sync with the broader community. Serving alongside their loved ones to ensure the safety and security of our communities, they deserve a set of evidence-based mental health promotion resources and supports delivered with rich foundation in what it means to be “on the job.”

  • Family members of PSP
  • PSP (current and former) are not limited to but include border services personnel, correctional workers, firefighters (career and volunteer), operational and intelligence personnel, paramedics, police (municipal, provincial, federal), public safety communicators (e.g., dispatchers, 911 operators), and search and rescue personnel.

  • Work has started as of February 1, 2022, with resource development in progress.

  • There will be opportunities for people to get involved as we release resources. Contact us or sign up for our mailing list for opportunities to participate and keep up to date on our progress.

  • The webpage overhaul for both PSPNET and PSPNET Families is in development. Design has been approved, and the design is expected to be completed Fall 2022. The SSO Wellbeing Course was launched in summer 2022 and a second version, based on feedback from participants, will be launched later this year.  Stay tuned for updates as the Families Resources and Couples Toolkit content has been created and is being converted for users.

  • By March 31st, 2023, we plan to have a set of resources available for PSP families. To have a sustainability plan to continue to provide ongoing supports for PSP families past March 2023.

  • The PSPNET Families Wellbeing Hub is developed through funding by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

THE PSPNET FAMILIES TEAM

The PSPNET Families team develops and offers trauma-informed mental health resources to serve PSP families, spouses, and significant others. The team showcases a large interdisciplinary collaboration across Canadian and international researchers. Several members of the project team are also PSP family members. 

Co-Principal Investigators:

  • Dr. Heidi Cramm (Queen's University, Families Matter Research Group)
  • Dr. Heather Hadjistavropoulos (University of Regina, PSPNET, Online Therapy Unit, Wellbeing Innovation Lab)
  • Dr. Nathalie Reid (University of Regina, Child Trauma Research Centre)

Project Team:

University of Regina:

  • Abby Phillips (Research Assistant)
  • Bailey Hammer (Student Research Assistant)
  • Caeleigh Landry (Research Assistant)
  • Constance Ross (Administrative Assistant)
  • Hugh McCall (Graduate Research Assistant)
  • Isabelle Dena (Clinical Research Associate)
  • Janine Beahm (Research Associate)
  • Julia Gregory (Research Assistant)
  • Kollins Dare (Project Manager)
  • Melissa Scheltgen (Clinical Research Associate)
  • Myla Nicolas (Instructional Designer) 
  • Peace Dukuye (Research Assistant)
  • Rhett Danyluk (Instructional Designer)
  • Saad Shawer (Instructional Designer)  
  • Sarah Reiser (Clinical Research Associate)
  • Shimona Sekhar (Senior Project Director)
  • Steffi Oberthier (Research Assistant)

Queen's University:

  • Erin Porter (Research Coordinator)
  • Linna Tam-Seto (Research Scientist)
  • Lisa Delaney (Community Development Manager for Families Matter Network)
  • Marilyn Cox (Research Associate)
  • Melissa Richardson (Research Assistant) 
  • Rachel Richmond (Doctoral Trainee)
  • Tina Armstrong (Research Assistant) 

Research Consultants:

  • Dr. Alyson Mahar (University of Manitoba)
  • Dr. Deborah Norris (Mount Saint Vincent University)
  • Dr. Rachel Dekel (Bar-Ilan University)
  • Dr. Sharon Lawn (Flinders University)
  • Dr. Tim Black (University of Victoria)
  • Prof. Nicola Fear (King’s College London)

Connectors/Collaborators

Contact Us

pspnetfamilies@uregina.ca 

1-833-317-7233

GET INVOLVED

You can get involved by sharing our poster.