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Article

How Have Public Safety Personnel Seeking Digital Mental Healthcare Been Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic? An Exploratory Mixed Methods Study

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Department of Psychology, University of Regina, 3737 Wascana Pkwy, Regina, SK S4S 0A2, Canada
2
PSPNET, University of Regina, 2 Research Drive, Regina, SK S4T 2P7, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(24), 9319; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17249319
Received: 6 November 2020 / Revised: 4 December 2020 / Accepted: 11 December 2020 / Published: 13 December 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Safety Personnel: Mental Health and Well-Being)
Public safety personnel (PSP) experience unique occupational stressors and suffer from high rates of mental health problems. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted virtually all aspects of human life around the world and has introduced additional occupational stressors for PSP. The objective of this study was to explore how PSP, especially those seeking digital mental health services, have been affected by the pandemic. Our research unit, PSPNET, provides internet-delivered cognitive behavioral therapy to PSP in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. When the pandemic spread to Saskatchewan, PSPNET began inquiring about the impact of the pandemic on prospective clients during the eligibility screening process. We used content analysis to analyze data from telephone screening interviews (n = 56) and descriptive statistics to analyze data from a questionnaire concerning the impacts of COVID-19 (n = 41). The results showed that most PSP reported facing several novel emotional challenges (e.g., social isolation, boredom, anger, and fear) and logistical challenges (e.g., related to childcare, finances, work, and access to mental healthcare). Most participants indicated they felt at least somewhat afraid of contracting COVID-19 but felt more afraid of their families contracting the virus than themselves. However, few participants reported severe challenges of any kind, and many (40%) indicated that they had not been significantly negatively impacted by the pandemic. Overall, the results suggest that PSP are not expressing significant concern at this time in meeting the novel challenges posed by COVID-19. Continued research will be required to monitor how diverse PSP populations and treatment outcomes are affected by the pandemic as the situation evolves. View Full-Text
Keywords: public safety personnel; first responders; COVID-19; coronavirus; pandemic; mental health; internet-delivered cognitive behavioral therapy public safety personnel; first responders; COVID-19; coronavirus; pandemic; mental health; internet-delivered cognitive behavioral therapy
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MDPI and ACS Style

McCall, H.; Beahm, J.; Landry, C.; Huang, Z.; Carleton, R.N.; Hadjistavropoulos, H. How Have Public Safety Personnel Seeking Digital Mental Healthcare Been Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic? An Exploratory Mixed Methods Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 9319. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17249319

AMA Style

McCall H, Beahm J, Landry C, Huang Z, Carleton RN, Hadjistavropoulos H. How Have Public Safety Personnel Seeking Digital Mental Healthcare Been Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic? An Exploratory Mixed Methods Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(24):9319. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17249319

Chicago/Turabian Style

McCall, Hugh, Janine Beahm, Caeleigh Landry, Ziyin Huang, R. N. Carleton, and Heather Hadjistavropoulos. 2020. "How Have Public Safety Personnel Seeking Digital Mental Healthcare Been Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic? An Exploratory Mixed Methods Study" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17, no. 24: 9319. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17249319

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