Advancing Peer Support Programming to Address PTSD and Trauma Among Canadian Public Safety Personnel and Veterans

The Advancing Peer Support Program provides a coordinated national approach to peer support for public safety personnel, enables evidence-based improvements and standardization, and will ultimately lead to independent, nationally-recognized accreditations. This project also develops and deploys PeerOnCall and PeerOnCallSupport, a mobile health platform that provides private, secure access to peer support.

PeerOnCall and PeerOnCall Support are the mobile health platforms customized for Canadian Public Safety Personnel. These apps have been created to promote early intervention, mental health support, and psychological health and safety among public safety workplaces. As of spring 2023 implementation is happening across the following Canadian services: corrections, emergency communications, fire services, law enforcement, and paramedic services.

PeerOnCall News

CIMVHR Forum 2023

In support of advancing new research and promoting knowledge dissemination, the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR) organizes an annual conference. The CIMVHR Forum serves as an opportunity for academic and government researchers to exchange insights and learnings about issues impacting the health of the Canadian Armed Forces, Reserve Forces, Veterans and their Family members. At the CIMVHR Forum 2023, the work of several PeerOnCall team members was showcased.

S. Czarnuch, R. MacPhee, J. MacDermid, S. Moll, R. Ricciardelli, N. Leduc, R. Campbell Bromhead, “The PeerOnCall technology balancing act: managing competing tensions”, poster presented at the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR) Forum, Ottawa-Gatineau, Canada, 2023. 

S. Moll, M. Wakim, R.N. Carleton, S. Czarnuch, J. MacDermid, R. MacPhee and R. Ricciardelli, “PeerOnCall: Co-designing App-based Tools for Peer Support”, poster presented at the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR) Forum, Ottawa-Gatineau, Canada, 2023.

R. Campbell Bromhead, J. MacDermid, R. Ricciardelli, M. Lomotan, S. Czarnuch, R. MacPhee, R.N. Carleton, S. Moll, “Implementation of the PeerOnCall apps: Insights from the Fire Sector”, poster presented at the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR) Forum, Ottawa-Gatineau, Canada, 2023.

Ricciardelli, D. Gibbons, M. Sibley, B. Mario, J. MacDermid, S. Czarnuch, R. MacPhee, R.N. Carleton, S. Moll, “Implementing Peer Support Apps in Correctional Services: Lessons learned & future directions”, presentation at the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR) Forum, Ottawa-Gatineau, Canada, 2023.

Justice Report Publication

We are thrilled to share that our PeerOnCall project is featured in the Justice Report Issue 38 Volume 2. The abstract for the article, PeerOnCall: App-Based Peer Support for Canadian Public Safety Personnel, can be accessed on the Justice Report website.

Call for Catalyst Grant Applications

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) have a final funding opportunity for new projects. The selected projects will be required to build on the project, PeerOnCall. The Catalyst Grant recipients will conduct empirical studies addressing app-based peer-to-peer support for Public Safety Personnel (PSP). Questions must be related to the effectiveness, feasibility, development and/or evaluation of best practices, guidance documents and uptake of the PeerOnCall app. Areas for further relevant investigation may include (but are not limited to):

  • The nature of the peer support accessed by PSP via the PeerOnCall app

  • The app’s impact on PSP and/or their caregivers and families

  • The impact that providing app-based support has on peer providers

  • Providing additional training or feedback to PeerOnCall peer providers

  • Determining the functionality of PeerOnCall as a digital knowledge management tool

  • Implementation science questions related to organizational and individual uptake and use of the PeerOnCall app

The four selected projects will receive a maximum of $100,000 for one year of funding.

PeerOnCall Highlights

New Frontiers in App-Based Support for Public Safety Personnel

In January 2024, CIPHER hosted a webinar focusing on app-based support for Public Safety Personnel (PSP) and Healthcare Workers (HCW). Representing the PeerOnCall team, Dr. Sandra Moll and Nadine Leduc shared insights into the PeerOnCall project. If you missed this session and would like to learn more you can watch the PeerOnCall presentation here.

PeerOnCall Brochure

This brochure offers information about the mobile health app that has been customized for Canadian public safety personnel.

PeerOnCall Newsletter

PeerOnCalls newsletter, the Callout, offers the most up to date information about the project.

Lessons Learned

“The vision, for this project, is really to build, co-design, deploy, and evaluate a new PeerOnCall app, which is a peer-to-peer support app for the public safety community in Canada.”  

Hear from Sandra Moll and Nadine Leduc about the lessons that PeerOnCall learned. 

PeerOnCall at the CIPHER 2023 Conference

In March 2023, CIPHER hosted a conference for all of the PHAC funded projects. This poster tracks PeerOnCall’s first year of progress.

Project Team

Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment (CIPSRT) Team

Nicholas Carleton, PhD, R.D. Psych: Scientific Director

Donna King: Associate Director

Donna Dowler: Senior Project Manager

McMaster University Team

Sandra Moll, PhD, OT Reg: Principal Investigator

Jordan Leonard: Research Coordinator

Alana Camporese: Research Assistant

Correctional Workers Team

Rosemary Ricciardelli, PhD, Fisheries and Marine Institute, Memorial University of Newfoundland: Sector Lead

Diana Gibbons: Project Manager

Brittany Mario: Postdoctoral Fellow

Paramedic Services Team

Renée MacPhee, PhD, Wilfrid Laurier University: Sector Lead

John Prno: Project Manager

Lorraine Downey: Knowledge User

Firefighters Team

Joy MacDermid, PhD, University of Western Ontario & McMaster University: Sector Lead

Robin Campbell Bromhead: Project Manager

Margaret Lomotan: Project Coordinator

Public Safety Communicators Team

Stephen Czarnuch, PhD, P.Eng., Memorial University of Newfoundland: Sector Lead

Nadine Leduc, MA: Project Manager

Affiliated Institutions

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