The study is led by Dr. Nicholas Carleton, a professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Regina, who has been working clinically with military and police officers, including the RCMP for nearly 10 years. Dr. Carleton is also the Scientific Director of the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment. He and his team of researchers are leaders in their fields all across Canada and in the United States, and have expertise in post-traumatic stress disorders, biostatistics, computer science, physiology, and mental health training. The RCMP supports this project funded by the Government of Canada. The study is based at the University of Regina’s Collaborative Centre for Justice and Safety and has a helpdesk, clinicians, and a project management and administration team to support the project.
The RCMP provide a total federal policing service to all Canadians with all RCMP Officers trained at RCMP Depot in Regina, Saskatchewan. That consistency, volume, and structure make working with the RCMP a very promising avenue for developing and testing models for improving mental health. We can start by implementing ongoing state-of-the-art assessments to support mental health to provide a much-needed baseline. We can then trial the implementation of a substantially changed training program specifically designed to strengthen cadet mental health by integrating evidence-based skills training throughout the Depot training program. Doing so allows us to defensibly assess what the risk and resiliency variables are for all participants as well as allowing us to defensibly assess whether the augmented training works to reduce risk and increase resilience after cadets graduate. Pending evidence from the RCMP longitudinal study that the additional assessments and skills work to strengthen officer mental health, the same models can be scaled up for all RCMP, all other public safety personnel, and eventually can help to improve mental health for all Canadians.