PSP Wellbeing Course

PSP Wellbeing Course

PSP Wellbeing Course for Mental Health

As part of the Government of Canada’s Action Plan on Post-traumatic Stress Injuries, we have developed an Internet-delivered cognitive behaviour therapy (ICBT) program for current and former Public Safety Personnel (PSP), including First Responders, called the PSP Wellbeing Course.

The PSP Wellbeing Course is designed to provide free education and guidance on simple but effective techniques for managing depression, anxiety and/or posttraumatic injuries for PSP. The PSP Wellbeing Course helps people with thoughts, behaviours and physical symptoms of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress.

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

Answers

Why was this Course developed?

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 Wellbeing Course?

The Wellbeing Course was originally developed at Macquarie University in Australia and was then adapted and researched by the Online Therapy Unit at the University of Regina. The Wellbeing course has shown success as a treatment for anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder. PSPNET has adapted the Wellbeing Course for PSP, including First Responders.

What does the PSP Wellbeing Course involve?

The PSP Wellbeing Course is an internet-delivered cognitive behaviour therapy (ICBT) program. ICBT involves using the internet to deliver the same treatment content that is normally covered in face-to-face cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) for depression, anxiety, or posttraumatic injuries.

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 but extra materials are available as needed (e.g., to address sleep concerns, social relationships, problem solving).

Lessons are presented in an engaging manner and assignments are given at the end of each lesson to help with learning strategies. Clients are typically sent automated emails that encourage them to complete the lessons.

What support is available from therapists?

The PSP Wellbeing Course is therapist-assisted. This means that during the week clients can send questions or comments to their designated therapist though a secure online message system. On a set day each, the therapist checks the website, reviews client progress on the course, and responds to messages. 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 Wellbeing 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 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 Wellbeing 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 Wellbeing 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 Wellbeing Course is for public safety personnel, including, but not necessarily limited to, first responders, 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 problems with anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress injuries;
    • 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 (in spring 2020 we will offer the course to PSP who reside in Quebec).

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 Wellbeing Course be offered in French?

The PSP Wellbeing Course will first be offered and evaluated in English and then in French.

What is the longer-term outcome of the project?

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 Wellbeing 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 Wellbeing Course, please register below and follow the instructions. Detailed instructions on how to sign up can be found here