University of Regina led pan-Canadian consortium receives $30 million in federal funding to support public safety personnel’s mental health

Posted: March 2, 2018 1:30 p.m.

(l-r) Dr. Nick Carleton, Professor of Psychology and Scientific Director of the Canadian Institute of Public Safety Research and Treatment at the U of R, Mayor Michael Fougere, City of Regina, Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and Dr. Vianne Timmons, President and Vice-Chancellor, U of R.
(l-r) Dr. Nick Carleton, Professor of Psychology and Scientific Director of the Canadian Institute of Public Safety Research and Treatment at the U of R, Mayor Michael Fougere, City of Regina, Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and Dr. Vianne Timmons, President and Vice-Chancellor, U of R. Photo courtesy Michael Bell Photography.

The University of Regina’s Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment (CIPSRT) is leading a pan-Canadian consortium that is receiving $30 million over 5 years from the federal government to address first responders’ and public safety personnel’s mental health concerns.

“The traumatic incidents experienced by Canada's public safety personnel during the course of their work can cause serious mental as well as physical injury, with women reporting even more symptoms than men. For that reason, the need for evidence-based research to address mental injuries suffered by first responders and other public safety personnel in the line of duty is clear and pressing – particularly at a time when gender equality is in the public consciousness more than ever before,” says Vianne Timmons, President and Vice-Chancellor University of Regina.”

Public safety personnel with Dr. Carleton, Mayor Fougere, Minister Goodale, and President Timmons at # 4 Fire Station for today's funding announcement.
Public safety personnel with Dr. Carleton, Mayor Fougere, Minister Goodale, and President Timmons at # 4 Fire Station for today's funding announcement.


“Our public safety personnel choose careers that protect all of us; as such, we need to build the best possible systems to support and improve their lives and the lives of their families,” says Dr. Nick Carleton, Professor of Psychology and Scientific Director at CIPSRT. “These investments support the development, implementation, and accessibility of evidence-based assessment tools, procedures, and treatments to reduce the impact of operational stress injuries.”

The funding is being allocated to two separate initiatives:

•    $20 million over five years, beginning in 2018-19, to support a new national research consortium between the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and CIPSRT. This new consortium will work to address the incidence of post-traumatic stress injuries among public safety personnel.

•    $10 million over 5 years, starting in 2018-19, for Public Safety Canada to work with CIPSRT to develop an Internet-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy pilot as a means of providing greater access to care and treatment for public safety personnel across Canada. This will help address barriers to obtaining access to mental health supports for public safety personnel in rural and remote areas.

“With its world-renowned expertise in evidence-based PTSI research, the University of Regina is honoured to lead this coast-to-coast-to-coast research collaboration, knowing that all public safety personnel, their families, and ultimately all Canadians will be the beneficiaries,” says Timmons. “I wish to recognize Minister Goodale’s leadership in ensuring significant federal resources are being dedicated to addressing this issue and to improving the lives of our public safety personnel and all Canadians.”

Partnering with public safety personnel’s executives and associations, CIPSRT is a national network working with key stakeholders on a long-term initiative to identify the tools required to support the recognition, prevention, intervention, and treatment of mental health concerns facing Canadian first responders and other public safety personnel. Operating within the governance structure of the Collaborative Centre for Justice and Safety at the University of Regina, CIPSRT is a coast-to-coast multi-university team of top Canadian researchers working at Regina, Memorial, Wilfrid Laurier, and Queen's universities, the Justice Institute of British Columbia, along with many national partners, stakeholders, and academic colleagues from across Canada.


Related stories:

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University of Regina paper reveals more help needed for first responders suffering from PTSD and other traumas