News at the University of New Brunswick

UNB researcher receives federal funding for study on post-traumatic stress injuries faced by firefighters

Author: UNB Newsroom

Posted on Feb 19, 2019

Category: myUNB , UNB Fredericton

A psychology researcher at the University of New Brunswick has received funding from the federal government for her research project focused on firefighters accessing care for trauma.

Dr. Janine Olthuis, an assistant professor in psychology at UNB Fredericton, is one of 20 researchers from across Canada who have received funding through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research for projects relating to post-traumatic stress injuries (PTSI) among public safety personnel, including law enforcement, firefighters and paramedics.

Dr. Olthuis’ research focuses on overcoming significant barriers to accessing mental health care faced by firefighters with PTSI. Specifically, her study will investigate the efficacy of a distance-delivered narrative exposure therapy intervention in reducing PTSI symptoms.

“Our goal with this funding is not only to be able to investigate the intervention’s outcomes, but to work with the firefighters who receive the intervention to make sure it is feasible, relevant, and satisfactory from their perspective,” said Dr. Olthuis.

Dr. Olthuis and her team have partnered with local firefighters, along with local and national PTSI experts and the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs to ensure the success of the project.

“We’re thrilled to receive this grant and are looking forward to the chance to improve firefighters’ access to important mental health interventions in a sustainable and non-stigmatizing way.”

The grants, awarded for 22 projects, are designed to support research focused on understanding, identifying, mitigating and/or preventing PTSI and adverse mental health outcomes among public safety occupations.

“The investments we are highlighting today underscore the Government of Canada’s commitment to providing evidence-based solutions to improve the quality of life of the brave men and women who risk their own safety and wellbeing to keep Canadians safe,” said the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health.

Media contact: Kelsey Pye