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University of Regina psychology professor awarded close to $1 million to conduct three-year study of mental health of public safety personnel

News Release Release Date: April 15, 2020 12:00 a.m.

In December 2017, Dr. R. Nicholas Carleton was awarded an $8.9 million contract by the federal government to conduct a study on the effects of policing on the mental health of Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers. The University of Regina psychology professor is now looking forward to taking the framework developed during that study and adapting and expanding it to support all public safety personnel. Carleton was recently awarded $989,925 by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s (CIHR) Mental Wellness in Public Safety Team Grants to conduct this three-year study.

In addition, the three-year project received a variety of additional support, including $47,250 from the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency to support its technology needs, as well as a total of almost $795,000 of in-kind support from public safety partners in police, fire, and paramedics, along with the RCMP, and the University of Regina.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, while other Canadians are practising social/physical distancing, Canada’s public safety personnel, such as border services officers, 911 operators and other public safety communications officials, correctional workers, firefighters (career and volunteer), paramedics, and police continue working to keep people safe and secure. That’s one of many reasons why it’s vital to help public safety personnel identify psychological and physiological signs of trauma and stress-related disorders, including symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

“The significant support from CIHR and our collaborators will allow our impressive network of people who are doing different and complementary work to adapt our existing software and platform, and to incorporate participant feedback and results to develop a tailor-made infrastructure for the broader public safety community,” says Carleton, who is also the scientific director of the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment (CIPSRT).

Carleton is optimistic that the work they are doing now can eventually also be expanded to be beneficial for all Canadians. The initial design, recruitment, and roll out of equipment and software will take about one year. After that the project will be launched to people working in various public safety sectors, after which we will gather data. At the end of the project, Carleton expects to have a very scalable protocol for helping all public safety personnel.

 

About The University of Regina:

The University of Regina—with campuses located on Treaty 4 and Treaty 6 territories, the ancestral lands of the Cree, Saulteaux, Dakota, Lakota and Nakoda nations and the homeland of the Métis—is a comprehensive, mid-sized university that traces its roots back to the creation of Regina College in 1911. Today, more than 16,500 students study within the University's 10 faculties, 25 academic departments/schools, 18 research centres and institutes, and three federated colleges (Campion College, First Nations University of Canada, and Luther College). The University of Regina has an established reputation for excellence and innovative programs that lead to undergraduate, master, and doctoral degrees.

 

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