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Healthy and safe

Public safety research and treatment summit taking place


By Susan Flanagan

You don’t have to be a war veteran to suffer from post-traumatic stress or panic.

Public safety personnel, including correctional officers, fire fighters, paramedics and police officers, also suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), adjustment disorder, depression, suicidal ideation, and substance abuse, potentially more often than the general public.

National plan

“Public safety workers may deal with many different operational stress injuries, like anxiety, chronic pain and insomnia,” said Dr. Rose Ricciardelli, associate professor and co-ordinator of the criminal certification program in the Department of Sociology.

Dr. Rose Ricciardelli, associate professor and coordinator of the criminal certification program in the Department of Sociology.
Dr. Rose Ricciardelli, associate professor and coordinator of the criminal certification program in the Department of Sociology.
Photo: Chris Hammond

“In November 2015, Prime Minister Trudeau’s mandate letter to Minister Ralph Goodale, minister of Public Safety, proposed working with provinces and territories and the minister of Health to develop a co-ordinated national action plan on post-traumatic stress disorder, which disproportionately affects public safety officers. That is what we aim to do this month.”

The Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment (CIPSRT) will host a three-day CIPSRT summit 2017 from July 25-27 on Memorial’s St. John’s campus.

Information session

Dr. Ricciardelli, who is also the associate director for corrections research with CIPSRT, wants to get the word out that members of the Memorial community are invited to attend an informative discussion on Tuesday, July 25, at 10 a.m. in A-1043 in the Arts and Administration building.

Dr. Nick Carleton, scientific director of CIPSRT
Dr. Nick Carleton, scientific director of CIPSRT

“On day one of the summit we want to see key players from unions, fire, police, corrections and paramedics, as well as local and national government officials, get together with Memorial and CIPSRT to discuss CIPSRT strategic priorities in the Atlantic region,” said Dr. Nick Carleton, scientific director of CIPSRT.

Improve prevention

Dr. Ricciardelli says that the process of improving the well-being of public safety employees across the province and the country will start to take place next week.

“By the end of Summit 2017 we hope to have developed a sound business case to present to the federal government,” she said.

“We are working to put more measures in place to help assess symptoms, we’d like to conduct longitudinal studies and build on supporting families-focused research. Our ultimate goal is to improve prevention, training, and intervention as well as to offer fast, easy and confidential access to treatment protocols with no out-of-pocket costs to individual members of the public service.”

 For more information

Dr. Rose Ricciardelli can be reached via email, as can Dr. R. Nicholas Carleton.

Attending organizations

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police

PSSC representatives

Canadian Association of Police Governance

Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs

Canadian Police Association

Correctional Services Canada

International Association of Fire Fighters

Paramedic Association of Canada

Paramedic Chiefs of Canada

Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Union of Solicitor General Employees

National Office for the Union of Solicitor General Employees (USGE)

Wounded Warriors Canada

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