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Alberta government funding mental health support for first responders

February 9, 2022
By FFIC Staff

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Feb. 9, Alberta – Alberta’s government has provided a total of $1.48 million to four non-profit organizations and seven researchers through the Supporting Psychological Health in First Responders program.

From 2015 to 2019, there were 685 Workers’ Compensation Board claims costing $104 million for first responders related to post-traumatic stress injuries (PTSI). These claims represent the suffering and challenges faced by first responder’s in Alberta, their families, friends and communities.

The grants support services for first responders and emergency health-care workers living with or at risk of developing PTSIs. The services include peer support and resilience training for workers and caregivers to deal with or prevent PTSIs.

The grants also support applied research to develop and evaluate the most effective treatment programs and services.

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In the Edmonton area, $711,769 of the funding is supporting the research and programs that will work to improve first responder mental health.

Three researchers from the University of Alberta each received the grant. The funding was used to develop a text message system that provides daily supportive, therapeutic, and educational messages. This system is a part of a study to gauge the effectiveness of digital therapies to support first responders, and for research to help clinicians assess and treat first responders at risk of complicated outcomes and improve worker recovery.

The first cycle of grant recipients can be found below, the second cycle of grant recipients will be announced at a later date.

Grant recipients

Researchers

  • Vincent Agyapong, University of Alberta – $150,000
  • Suzette Brémault-Phillips, University of Alberta – $206,137
  • Doug Gross, University of Alberta – $49,494.50
  • Bonnie Laskewicz, University of Calgary – $209,525
  • Linda Duffett-Leger, University of Calgary – $201,614
  • Rose Ricciardelli, Memorial University of Newfoundland – $187,966
  • Dwayne Van Eerd, Institute for Work & Health – $172,820

Service providers

  • Alberta Critical Incident Provincial Network – $99,875
  • Alberta Fire Fighters’ Association -$134,662.50
  • Edmonton Fire Rescue Services – $40,000
  • Wellness Works Canada – $31,600