McMaster prof in Hamilton leading $1M ‘pandemic PTSD’ study of health-care professionals

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Published October 21, 2021 at 5:57 pm

It is no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic response has left many frontline health-care workers worn thin mentally — and a McMaster University prof is leading a study that will eventually try to improve treatments for it.

The Hamilton university announced this week that Dr. Margaret McKinnon, who is a professor of psychiatry and behavioural neurosciences, will lead a major international study on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The study, funded through a $1-million grant from Homewood Health to the Homewood Research Institute, will look at the effects of COVID-19 on health-care professionals.

““This research will contribute important new data that will enhance our understanding of the enormous impact of the pandemic on health care workers and public safety personnel and assist in developing novel interventions to facilitate the healing of those who serve us every day, at what is often tremendous personal cost,” McKinnon, who is the the Homewood Research Chair in Mental Health and Trauma at Mac, said in a release this week.

The study will take place in two phases. The first will focus on research that can be converted into the prevention and intervention strategies to help health-care personnel.

The second phase will implement and evaluate new approaches in various treatment settings.

The McMaster-led study includes researchers from St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and the federally funded Centre of Excellence on PTSD. There will also be input from the University of Ottawa, the University of Regina and the and the universities of Regina, Ottawa in Canada and the University of Vienna.

The announcement of the study comes right as Vancouver-based Mindwell U opened registration for a program called Mindwell for Healthcare Workers. The training program, which begins Nov. 1, was created by MindWell U, in partnership with Wellness Together Canada, which is a national mental health portal funded by the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) and the federal government.

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