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September 1, 2017

JIBC dean joins national effort to address health and wellness of public safety workers

Research team’s first study measures impact of mental health symptoms among public safety personnel

Dr. Greg Anderson, Dean of the Office of Applied Research & Graduate Studies at Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) was recently appointed as the Associate Director, Police at the newly-established Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment (CIPSRT).

CIPSRT was developed to provide a Canadian hub for strategic public safety wellness research and analysis, knowledge translation and mobilization, through working with public safety leaders and academics from across the country to develop and deploy solutions that meet the current and future needs of Canadian public safety personnel. The Institute will allow Canadian public safety personnel, their organizations, their families, and their communities to have access to up-to-date, scientifically-robust evidence to inform policies and programs for a full range of health and wellness challenges.

“JIBC’s involvement in developing multi-disciplinary, pan-Canadian solutions to improve first responders’ health trajectory as they move through their careers demonstrates JIBC’s commitment to the health and well-being of the public safety personnel trained at our institution,” said Dr. Anderson, whose CIPSRT role involves oversight and leadership of police research.

CIPSRT held its first summit in Newfoundland the last week in July where Scientific Director, Dr. Nick Carleton from the University of Regina, and the Associate Directors of Police, Corrections, Fire and Paramedicine met with representatives from each stakeholder group.

The first scientific output from this group, entitled “Mental Disorder Symptoms Among Public Safety Personnel in Canada,” was designed to clarify the scope and impact of mental health symptoms reported by diverse Canadian public safety personnel, including correctional workers, call centre operators, dispatchers, firefighters, paramedics, and police.

“Substantial proportions of our survey participants self-reported symptoms consistent with one or more mental disorders, proportions that appear much higher than have been found in previous research with the general public,” Dr. Carleton said. “This includes a significant number of respondents who reported symptoms of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.” 

Funded in part by Public Safety Canada, the survey engaged nearly 9,000 people and was completed by nearly 6,000 respondents from coast to coast. Public Safety Canada has now funded a second phase of research which will allow researchers to learn more about the prevalence of mental health issues among first responders and other public safety personnel.

“While the results of this research are troubling, the increased reporting among public safety officers is a sign of progress in reducing the stigma associated with post-traumatic stress injuries in public safety officers. This research will help inform our next steps in developing a coordinated action plan to address this issue,” says Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale. “The Government of Canada is pleased to continue to support the research of the University of Regina and its research partners on this issue and I look forward to working with all levels of government and leaders in the public safety community to advance this important work.”

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About Justice Institute of British Columbia

Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) is Canada’s leading public safety educator with a mission to develop dynamic justice and public safety professionals through its exceptional applied education, training and research. JIBC offers internationally recognized education that leads to certificates, diplomas, bachelor’s degrees and graduate certificates; exceptional continuing education for work and career-related learning and development; and customized contract training to government agencies and private organizations worldwide. Our education provides professionals with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to excel at every stage of their career contributing to safer communities and a more just society.

Tags: Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment, CIPSRT, first responders, mental health, Office of Applied Research and Graduate Studies, Public Safety Canada

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Last updated January 31, 2018