McMaster researchers in Hamilton get $4.5M for efforts to support healthcare workers with PTSD


Published June 27, 2022 at 7:38 pm

The COVID-19 pandemic has stretched the mental health of many health-care workers, and two McMaster University researches in Hamilton are receiving federal funding to help provide them with supports.

Dr. Margaret McKinnon, professor of psychiatry and behavioural neurosciences, and Dr. Sandra Moll, an associate professor at the Hamilton university’s school of rehabilitation science, are receiving a combined $4.5 million in federal funding for ongoing projects. Their works are both related to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among health-care workers that stems from the nearly 2½-year-old pandemic.

McKinnon, who is also a clinician-scientist at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, is leading the Healthcare Salute project, which is developing resources for health-care personnel. The project is receiving $2.96M from Ottawa, and will reach 75,000 HCWs at more than 700 public hospitals across Canada.

In a McMaster release, McKinnon said that about half of the healthcare workers who have participated in the study are “considering leaving their current position due to moral distress encountered during the pandemic”

Moll, who is also an occupational therapist, is receiving $1.56M continuing developing, implement and evaluate the McMaster Beyond Silence smartphone app. The ‘coach in your pocket’ app provides confidential information and mental health supports to health-care workers, with a focus on early intervention and peer support.

Moll is also leading an implementation team to advance access to peer support for up to up to 30,000 public safety communicators, correctional workers, firefighters and paramedics. That project is being pursued in partnership with the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment at the University of Regina, and will be getting $3.71M from Ottawa.

The projects are part of a $28.2-million funding announcement allocated to nine projects addressing PTSD and trauma. Mental Health and Addictions Minister Carolyn Bennett made the announcement in Regina on Monday, in conjunction with PTSD Awareness Day on June 27.

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