The Government of Canada increases support for public safety personnel on the front-lines
March 2, 2018
Public Safety Canada
Public safety personnel put their lives on the line to keep our communities safe, and we must do more to support their mental health and well-being.
Today, the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, announced $30 million in new federal investments to work with the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment (CIPSRT) at the University of Regina to tackle post-traumatic stress injuries (PTSI) among public safety personnel.
In the course of their daily work keeping our communities safe, public safety personnel are repeatedly exposed to traumatic incidents, which can put them at great risk for operational stress injuries, including PTSI.
A lack of research dedicated to understanding PTSI limits our ability to provide effective support. That’s why the Government of Canada is investing:
- $20 million over five years, beginning in 2018-19, to support a new national research consortium between the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment. 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 the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment 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.
“Public safety personnel put themselves in harm’s way to protect Canadians, putting them disproportionately at risk of post-traumatic stress injuries. We must do more to support their mental health and well-being.”
- The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
“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. 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.”
- Dr. Vianne Timmons, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Regina
An estimated 70,000 Canadian tri-service officers (police, firefighters and paramedics) have suffered from PTSI.
A federally funded study of mental health among public safety personnel by CIPSRT found that substantial proportions of participants reported symptoms consistent with one or more mental disorders, at rates far higher than the general population.
A 2017 report titled “Mental Disorder Symptoms among Public Safety Personnel in Canada” indicated that women (51.7%) had a rate of mental disorders that exceed men (41%).
In January, the Government of Canada announced an investment of $187,000 with CIPSRT to facilitate training in a program delivered by the Canadian Armed Forces that will help prevent and raise awareness of post-traumatic stress injuries in public safety personnel across Canada.
The Government of Canada continues to work closely with a broad stakeholder community, including all levels of Government, Indigenous leaders, public safety stakeholders, academia, mental health professionals and not-for-profit organizations, to develop a coordinated action plan on post-traumatic stress injuries in support of public safety personnel.
CIPSRT, a national network of 37 research and academic institutions, is the foremost multidisciplinary national authority on public safety personnel mental health, and is the sole research and clinical organization dedicated to public safety personnel in Canada.
Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Public Safety Canada
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