FREDERICTON (GNB) – Public safety personnel now have access to a new online tool to help them manage and maintain their mental health and well-being.

The provincial government is providing first responders and other public safety personnel with access to PSPNET, an online cognitive behaviour therapy program offered through the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment at the University of Regina.

The departments of Health and Justice and Public Safety are providing a combined $150,250 for the service during a two-year pilot project. Other contributors include Public Safety Canada and Medavie.

“First responders and public safety personnel are ready to answer the call and be there for us in our most trying moments,” said Health Minister Dorothy Shephard. “That is why we are pleased to offer them more support by providing this service, at no cost to them, through PSPNET.”

The program is offered for free to current and former first responders and other public safety personnel, including border services personnel, correctional workers, career and volunteer firefighters, operational and intelligence personnel, paramedics, police, public safety communicators such as dispatchers and 911 operators, and search and rescue personnel.

“We are pleased to be offering this service to first responders experiencing mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety and stress disorders due to post-traumatic stress injuries,” said Justice and Public Safety Minister Hugh J. Flemming. “Participating in this pilot project is an opportunity to help those who give so much to our communities.”

“It is a privilege for our team to deliver our program to public safety personnel in New Brunswick who may need support with post-traumatic stress injuries,” said Heather Hadjistavropoulos, a psychology professor at the University of Regina and the program founder. “PSPNET has been tailored to meet the needs of public safety personnel and covers various strategies known to improve well-being. I am proud of the work our team has done to help public safety personnel who do so much to keep us all safe, and I appreciate the opportunity to extend our work to public safety personnel in the Atlantic provinces.”

Medavie is matching the government funds with a two-year investment through the Medavie Health Foundation.

“As a not-for-profit health solutions partner, Medavie is committed to improving the well-being of Canadians,” said Medavie CEO Bernard Lord. “A key focus of our foundation is funding evidence-based services and supports for first responders and their families impacted by post-traumatic stress. That is why we are proud to partner with the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment to help ensure first responders have the support and resources in place to care for their mental health and well-being.”