PSP PTSD Course

PSP PTSD Course

PSP PTSD Course for Mental Health

The PSPNET team, as part of Canada’s Action Plan on Posttraumatic Stress Injuries, launched the PSP Wellbeing Course in January of 2020. This course addresses broad mental health symptoms. In July 2020, the PSPNET team launched a new Internet-delivered cognitive behaviour therapy (ICBT) course for Public Safety Personnel (PSP), called the PSP PTSD Course.

The PSP PTSD Course is designed to provide free education and guidance on effective techniques specifically focused on managing symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder among PSP. The PSP PTSD Course helps PSP with thoughts, behaviours, and physical symptoms related to posttraumatic stress disorder

The PSP PTSD Course is now available to PSP in Saskatchewan.

Answers

Why was this Course developed?

Research shows that 23.2% of PSP report clinically significant symptoms of PTSD but many have difficulties accessing care.

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 PSP PTSD Course?

The PTSD Course was originally developed at Macquarie University in Australia and was then adapted to meet the needs of PSP by the PSPNET team at the University of Regina. The PTSD Course has shown success as a treatment for those who report or identify experiencing symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder.

What does the PSP PTSD Course involve?

The PSP PTSD Course is provided as an ICBT program that incorporates the same treatment content that is received via face–to-face therapy. The content has been adapted for PSP who identify or report experiencing significant symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder.

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 and some lessons are one week while other lessons are provided over two weeks. There are several additional resources available depending on the concerns or issues present, including areas like anger, communication, and worry. 

Lessons are provided through slideshow and downloadable guides to review and practice the skills.

What support is available from therapists?

The PSP PTSD Course is therapist-assisted. This means that during the week clients can send questions or comments to their designated therapist though a secure online email system. On a set day each, the therapist checks the website, reviews client progress on the course, and responds to emails. 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 PSP PTSD 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:

  1. potential, imminent harm to you or others;
  2. suspected neglect or harm to a child, including the witnessing of violence;
  3. a court order to release information; or
  4. where required by legislation.

PSPNET is a clinical 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 PSP PTSD 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 PSP PTSD 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 the course?

The PSP PTSD Course is for PSP, including, but not necessarily limited to, 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 or are primarily experiencing symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder;
    • 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 Saskatchewan.

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 PSP PTSD Course be offered in French?

The PSP PTSD Course will first be offered and evaluated in Saskatchewan, and then if there is significant uptake of the course we will translate the course into French.

What is the longer-term plan for PSPNET?

By the end of the project, we intend to have an evidence-based model for how to deliver ICBT to PSP that will inform future treatment of PSP.

How long will PSPNET be providing the PSP PTSD Course?

We currently have funding until March 2023, which means that we will most likely be able to offer the course until December 2022.

Where can I find out more information?

For information about the PSP Wellbeing Course contact 306-337-7233 (SAFE) or email pspnet@uregina.ca

How do I sign up?

If you are interested in participating in the PSP PTSD Course, please register below and follow the instructions. Detailed instructions on how to sign up can be found here