CIHR Catalyst Grants fuel U of R’s research on post-traumatic stress injuries in public safety personnel through CIPSRT

By Katherine Cormack Posted: February 8, 2019 3:00 p.m.

First responders and other public safety personnel leaders with Dr. R. Nicholas Carleton, City of Regina Mayor Michael Fogere, Dr. Vianne Timmons, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Regina at March 2018 announcement by the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness of $30 million over $5 years for an Internet-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy pilot and a longitudinal study of the mental health of RCMP recruits.
First responders and other public safety personnel leaders with Dr. R. Nicholas Carleton, City of Regina Mayor Michael Fogere, Dr. Vianne Timmons, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Regina at March 2018 announcement by the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness of $30 million over $5 years for an Internet-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy pilot and a longitudinal study of the mental health of RCMP recruits. Photo: Michael Bell

You only need to catch the news to understand that exposure to potentially traumatic tragedies can be a frequent part of the work life of Canadian public safety personnel. Clearly, we need to understand how the often hazardous and volatile environments in which Canada’s public safety personnel - communications officials, corrections officers, fire fighters, paramedics and police officers, among others - work can impact their mental well-being. Building this understanding takes research and research requires funding. 

Today the Government of Canada announced its $2.95 million commitment to support 22 one-year research projects through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Post-Traumatic Stress Injury (PTSI) Catalyst Grants competition. 

“Public safety personnel put themselves in harm’s way to protect Canadians, putting them disproportionately at risk of post-traumatic stress injuries. Our country must do more to protect the mental well-being of public safety officers on-the-job. The initiatives highlighted today will help address gaps in PTSI research and inform long-term plans to support the mental health and well-being of our public safety personnel,” says the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. 

The University of Regina’s Dr. Gordon Asmundson, Dr. Ronald Camp, Dr. R. Nicholas Carleton, Dr. Alec Couros, Dr. Amber Fletcher, and Dr. David Malloy will undertake research in varying capacities on 12 of the CIHR-PTSI Catalyst projects. 

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The federal government, having identified PTSIs among our nation’s public safety personnel as a priority in Budget 2018, also invested $20 million over 5 years to support the CIHR – CIPSRT National Research Consortium for Post-Traumatic Stress Injuries among Public Safety Personnel. For its part, CIPSRT serves as the Consortium’s Knowledge Exchange Hub. 

“With PTSI research happening throughout the country, the Knowledge Exchange Hub acts as a central repository, as well as the body that synthesizes, translates, and exchanges PTSI research,” says Dr. R. Nicholas Carleton, professor of Psychology at the U of R and CIPSRT’s Scientific Director. 

All of the researchers involved in the 22 projects, who work at 17 research institutions from across Canada, will become part of the CIHR – CIPSRT National Research Consortium. Their research will help to build the Knowledge Exchange Hub. 

“The Knowledge Exchange Hub at CIPSRT means that, ultimately, a storehouse of vital evidence-based research will be at the fingertips of Canadians. Researchers, policy-makers, public safety personnel, leadership, and their families, as well as the public, will have one place to find and share key evidence-based research, improving the ability for Canadians to create the policies, program, and treatments that will improve the mental well-being and resilience of our nation’s public safety personnel, as well their families and those in leadership,” says Carleton. 

Of course, what we learn here in Canada can be shared around the world, improving the lives of public safety personnel globally.

CIPSRT, as part of the National Research Consortium for Post-Traumatic Stress Injuries among Public Safety Personnel, operates under the governance of the Collaborative Centre for Justice and Safety at the University of Regina. It engages - under the scientific direction of multi-disciplinary researchers from across Canada - in knowledge synthesis, translation, and exchange that relies upon the best contemporary research evidence supporting an overall mission to help current and former public safety personnel and their families, as well as their leaders, to maintain and improve their mental health and well-being.

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Related

Read the February 8, 2019 CIHR release here: https://www.canada.ca/en/institutes-health-research/news/2019/02/government-of-canada-invests-more-than-11-million-in-research-into-post-traumatic-stress-injuries-in-public-safety-personnel.html

Visit the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment at https://www.cipsrt-icrtsp.ca/