Coming Soon- ICBT for Public Safety Personnel (PSP-NET)

As part of the Government of Canada's Action Plan on Post-traumatic Stress Injuries, the University of Regina is developing an Internet-delivered cognitive behaviour therapy (ICBT) program for Public Safety Personnel (PSP).


What is the name of this project?

This project has been named PSP-NET

Who is leading this project?

This project is led by Dr. Heather Hadjistavropoulos, Executive Director of the Online Therapy Unit, and Dr. Nicholas Carleton, Scientific Director the Canadian Institute of Public Safety Research and Treatment.

Who will this course be for?

The intent is to create an ICBT program tailored for PSP including, but not necessarily limited to, public safety communications officials (e.g., call centre operators/dispatchers), correctional workers and officers, firefighters, paramedics, and police officers. Specifically, ICBT will be tailored for PSP who self-report problems with anxiety, depression, or trauma.

Why is this course being developed?

This course is designed to be helpful for PSP who have mental health concerns and are faced with geographical barriers (e.g., difficulty accessing care while posted to remote locations), logistical barriers (e.g., shift work limits access to standard service hours), stigma barriers (e.g., perceptions of being evaluated negatively for having mental health concerns), limited resources (e.g., insufficient access), and or simply a preference for this type of service.

What does ICBT involve?

 ICBT involves using the Internet to provide strategies that are typically covered in face-to-face cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) for depression, anxiety, or trauma. These programs present lesson materials online on a weekly basis typically over 8 weeks. Clients are typically sent automated emails that encourage them to complete the lessons. Lessons are presented in an engaging manner and assignments are given at the end of each lesson to help with learning strategies. The program can be offered either 1) with weekly therapist support in the form or emails and phone calls; or 2) in a self-directed manner with optional therapist support.

How is the Online Therapy Unit involved?

The Online Therapy Unit is involved adapting ICBT programs that were developed in Australia and have been used successfully adapted, used and researched in Saskatchewan with over 5000 residents for the past five years ( https://www.onlinetherapyuser.ca/our-research).

Will ICBT be offered in French?

The PSP-NET project is intended to be offered and evaluated first in English and then in French.

What is the longer-term outcome of the project? 

By the end of the program, we intend to have an evidence-based model for how to deliver ICBT to PSP that will inform future treatment of PSP.

How long will this project last?

2018-2023

What is planned for 2019-2020?

  1.  Hire necessary project personnel;
  2. Secure relevant licenses and ethics applications;
  3. Build collaborative relationships with various organizations and personnel needed to successfully develop and evaluate ICBT for PSP;
  4. Conduct stakeholder interviews and focus groups to inform the adaptation of ICBT to PSP;
  5. Adapt ICBT materials, procedures and web platform for use with PSP;
  6. Complete set-up and maintain technical infrastructure;
  7. Begin offering ICBT for PSP in Saskatchewan; and
  8. Begin planning implementation of ICBT for PSP in French and in a second province in Canada.


Where can I find out more information?

Updates on the project will be available on the following website starting in July 2019: www.pspnet.ca

Who can I contact for more information

 If you are interested in learning more information about the project, please contact:

 Dr. Heather Hadjistavropoulos at hadjista@uregina.ca