Funding commitment will address PTSD and Trauma in Those Most Affected by COVID-19
REGINA, SK, June 27- The COVID-19 pandemic has created many significant challenges for frontline and essential workers, who have put in long hours and experienced prolonged stress while working to keep Canadians safe and healthy. The Government of Canada recognizes that these experiences may have put many essential and occupational workers at a greater risk of developing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and is committed to supporting them both now, and into our post-pandemic recovery.
Today, on PTSD Awareness Day, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, announced an investment of $28.2 million for nine projects to address PTSD and trauma in frontline and essential workers, and others whose mental health has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
These projects will help to deliver and test interventions, develop resources for affected or at-risk populations, and create resources and guidance for service providers and organizations. The projects will reach frontline and essential workers including health care providers, public safety personnel and their families, personal support workers, and long-term care workers.
The investment will also facilitate a Knowledge Development and Exchange Hub, which will use data from these projects to help inform mental health interventions and enhance Canadian public health policy and practice.
Today’s funding is part of a larger investment in Budget 2021 of $50 million over two years to help those experiencing, or at risk for, PTSD and trauma due to the pandemic, including frontline and essential service providers.
“Canada’s frontline and essential workers have sacrificed so much to keep us healthy and safe throughout the pandemic, and they deserve our support. With today’s investment, our government is helping create new tools to support those most at risk of PTSD and encourage their healing process, all while reducing stigma and removing barriers to care. To all frontline workers – we are incredibly grateful for your continued dedication and commitment to caring for our communities. Thank you!”
The Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, and Associate Minister of Health
“Canadians are tremendously grateful for the hard work of frontline and essential workers, especially during the pandemic. We know that this work isn’t easy, and can cause posttraumatic stress injuries. As a government, we have a responsibility to support those who’ve supported us. I’m so proud of the difference that these projects will make for those on the front lines.”
The Honourable Marco Mendicino
Minister of Public Safety
“This federal government investment is supporting our researchers’ efforts to design, deliver, and evaluate diverse and much-needed mental-health support to Canada’s public safety personnel, front line health-care workers, as well as their leadership and families. These Canadians have always supported our health and safety, and they made even more extraordinary sacrifices during the pandemic. Now, through training and treatment, we are working to provide them with the support they need.”
Dr. R. Nicholas Carleton
University of Regina professor of clinical psychology and scientific director for the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment
- The COVID-19 pandemic has affected individuals, families, and communities in many ways.
- Stressors from the pandemic may increase the number of Canadians experiencing symptoms of PTSD. Those who already have PTSD may experience more severe symptoms.
- In late 2020, the prevalence of screening positive for PTSD was higher among frontline workers (10%) than other Canadians (5%).(Statistics Canada, Survey on COVID-19 and Mental Health, September to December 2020)
- PTSD symptoms may affect various aspects of daily life, making it hard for people to function in their day-to-day activities.
- This funding opportunity aims to promote mental health, wellness and resilience, as well as provide support following exposure to trauma to mitigate mental health impacts.
- Mental health promotion and mental illness prevention are critical complements to mental health care services and can help reduce demands on the health care system.
- The Government of Canada is committed to supporting people in Canada with their mental health through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. If you or a loved one is struggling, you can access the Wellness Together Canada portal, or call 1-866-585-0445 or text WELLNESS to 741741 (adults) or 686868 (youth). The Wellness Together Canada portal provides free access to educational content, self-guided therapy, moderated peer-to-peer support, and one-to-one counselling with qualified health professionals