Composition of the FRMHNC

The First Responder Mental Health Network Collaboration (FRMHNC) brings together leadership from: the University of Ottawa Brain and Mind Research Institute (uOBMRI) in partnership with the University of Ottawa, Department of Psychiatry; the Office of Jody Mitic, City of Ottawa Sports Commission; the City of Ottawa: Police, Paramedic and Fire Services, and Employee Assistance Program (EAP); the Operational Stress Injury (OSI) Clinic at the Royal Ottawa Health Care Centre; the Tema Conter Memorial Trust (TEMA); Ottawa Professional Fire Fighters Association; and, 9 Run Run to address barriers currently impeding First Responder mental health, while enabling discussions regarding strategies to broaden access to care.

The long-term sustainable vision for this collaborative venture aims to: establish standardization amongst municipal, provincial and federal organizations engaged in this collaboration with dissemination and access to mental health resources, debriefing post critical incidents; recommend amendments to the current structure of the City of Ottawa’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to enhance current counseling services available to First Responders; further enhance access for First Responders in crisis by having a mental health professional on retainer,  specifically serving the tri-services; and to establish one major center servicing first responder mental health. 


The Goals of the FRMHNC

The ultimate establishment of a First Responder Mental Health Center will allow for the creation of a unified mental health strategy within the City of Ottawa and will subsequently create a baseline for First Responder-specific services, aimed to efficiently distribute mental health resources across the Ottawa Region.

The diverse partners within this network will provide guidance on a large scope of topics relating to First Responder mental health in order to affect and advocate for policy change to benefit First Responders. This may include, but is not limited to:

  • Addressing current structural issues or barriers that exist within First Responder communities;
  • Advising researchers on potential research projects/questions, methodological standards in the design and knowledge translation relating to First Responder mental health research;
  • Establishing best practices guidelines for individuals within the context of shift work, trauma, and psychosocial hazard;
  • Screening practices for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and mental illness in both new hires, current and retired First Responders (i.e. mandatory psychological assessments, applicant screening process, pre-employment psychological screening, etc.);
  • Assisting in developing effective approaches to First Responder suicide intervention and prevention via: media campaigns promoting awareness, alternative therapies to reduce stigma, improved training for clinicians, etc.;
  • Identifying strategies for maximizing health care and benefits via advocating for policy change to recognize First Responder mental health (ex. increase WSIB benefits, creation of an EAP program specific to First Responder work related stresses, etc.);
  • Assisting in developing approaches to support First Responders through treatment from both a clinical and a patient perspective;
  • Participating in annual ethics, human rights and mental health conferences, in which First Responders will be represented. 

Presentations

Testa, V., MacLean, S. Downey, L., McGregor, F. Micucci, J. & Hatcher, S. (November 22, 2016). “Laying the Foundation for Change: An Analysis of a Survey of Paramedic Mental Health in Ottawa.” Presented by: V.Testa at the 7th Annual Military and Veteran Health Research Forum. Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Mental Health Research (CIMVHR). Vancouver, BC.

Testa, V., MacLean, S. Downey, L., McGregor, F. Micucci, J. & Hatcher, S.(November 01, 2016). “Laying the Foundation for Change: An Analysis of a Survey of Paramedic Mental Health in Ottawa.” Presented by: V.Testa at the University of Ottawa Institute of Mental Health Research (IMHR). Food for Though Seminar Series. Ottawa, ON.

Testa, V., MacLean, S. Downey, L., McGregor, F. Micucci, J. & Hatcher, S. (September 24, 2016). Laying the Foundation for Change: An analysis of a survey of paramedic mental health in Ottawa. Poster presented at the Canadian Psychiatric Association 66th Annual Conference, Toronto, ON.

Testa, V., MacLean, S. Downey, L., McGregor, F. Micucci, J. & Hatcher, S. (2016 June). Laying the Foundation for Change: An analysis of a survey of paramedic mental health in Ottawa. Poster presented at the University of Ottawa Brain and Mind Research Institute’s Brain Health Research Day, Ottawa, ON.

Testa, V., MacLean, S.,  Downey, L., McGregor, F.,  Micucci, J., & Hatcher, S. (June 24, 2016). Laying the Foundation for Change: An analysis of a survey of paramedic mental health in Ottawa. Poster presented at the University of Ottawa Brain and Mind Research Institute’s Brain Health Research Day, Ottawa, ON.

Gillis, K., Park, D., Pajer, K., Bhatla, R., Green, D., Savoia, V., Damji, T. & Hatcher, S. (September 16. 2015). PTSD in first responders and its link to suicide: What can we do about it?” Presentation by: Gillis, K., Park, D., Pajer, K., Bhatla, R., Green, D., Savoia, V., Damji, T. & Hatcher, S. at the 2015 University of Ottawa Brain and Mind Research Institute 2017 Brain Health Awareness Week. Ottawa, ON.


Publications

Coming Soon!


FRMHNC Partners