Internet-delivered cognitive behaviour therapy offers techniques for managing mental health issues
The federal government, in partnership with the University of Regina, has launched Internet-delivered cognitive behaviour therapy (ICBT), a pilot project that will provide better mental health care access to public safety personnel.
The pilot project, called the PSP Wellbeing Course, provides free education and guidance on simple but effective techniques for managing depression, anxiety and/or post-traumatic injuries for public safety personnel.
This project is supported by a $10 million federal investment previously announced as part of the National Action Plan on post-traumatic stress injuries. It aims to provide greater access to mental health care and treatment for public safety personnel, especially in rural and remote areas.
“I look forward to seeing how this initiative progresses as the ultimate goal is to ensure that public safety personnel across Canada get the support they need,” said Bill Blair, minister of public safety and emergency preparedness. “We must protect the well-being of our front-line personnel who dedicate their lives to keeping our communities safe."
The pilot project is open to public safety personnel 18 years or older who live in Saskatchewan and who self-report problems with anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress injuries; are comfortable using and have access to the Internet; and are willing to provide a local medical contact in case of emergencies.
The course will be offered to personnel who reside in Quebec later in 2020 and will be available in French.
“We are very encouraged by the initial uptake of ICBT we are seeing in Saskatchewan. We are currently focused on the broader dissemination of ICBT and conducting research that will allow us to continually improve the services we offer,” said Heather Hadjistavropoulos, executive director of the online therapy unit and principal investigator at the Internet Therapy For Public Safety Personnel, which is delivering the program in partnership with the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment (CIPSRT).
Public safety personnel include police, firefighters and paramedics, correctional employees, border services personnel, operational and intelligence personnel, search and rescue personnel, Indigenous emergency managers, and dispatch personnel.