Research involves developing a research question, collecting data to answer that question, and then analyzing and interpretation that information. Research aims to increase knowledge.
In this study, we are testing whether Narrative Exposure Therapy (NET) delivered by a paraprofessional coach via video chat can reduce Posttraumatic Stress Injury (PTSI) symptoms among firefighters who have experienced a traumatic event.
A traumatic event is an experience that poses a risk to life or safety. Such an experience may happen to you, you may witness it happening to another person, you may learn that a loved one experienced it, or you may experience details of it in the course of your job. Experiencing traumatic events can be one of the biggest challenges of being a firefighter and can affect your mental health.
Traumatic events might include situations such as accidents, sudden/violent death, assault, natural disasters, sexual assault, or life-threatening injury. .
Sometimes when someone experiences a traumatic event it can lead to a mental health problem called a Posttraumatic Stress Injury (PTSI). Signs that you may be experiencing PTSI can include:
- Repeated, distressing memories of or emotional and physical reactions to the traumatic event, which could include nightmares or flashbacks
- Avoidance of people, places, thoughts, and physical sensations that are reminders of the traumatic event
- Negative thoughts and feelings such as negative beliefs about the world or yourself or feelings of fear, guilt, anger, or isolation
- Heightened arousal and reactivity, which might appear as hypervigilance, problems with sleep and concentration, or being easily irritable or angry
PTSI can also result in other challenges such as relationship problems and difficulties with substance use. PTSI effects everyone differently. Symptoms can range from mild to very strong and can differ in how they affect your daily life.
The Firefighters Accessing Care for Trauma program includes an intervention called e-NET, or online Narrative Exposure Therapy. E-NET has been specially developed for people who have experienced several traumatic events in their life and live with symptoms of PTSI. Narrative Exposure Therapy has helped many people who have experienced traumatic events. In the Firefighters Accessing Care for Trauma program, e-NET has been specially adapted to meet the needs of firefighters.
What is the content of e-NET?
Session 1 – Education:
- Meet your coach and get familiar with the program
- Discuss what PTSI is, how it influences your life and how e-NET could help
Session 2 – Lifeline:
- Create a chronological overview of your life with the help your coach
- Document the major events of your life using an online tool we have created specifically for this program
Session 3 to 11 – Narration:
- Starting at the beginning of your life, each session will focus on one specific event with high importance for you
- Discuss each event in detail
- Explore the thoughts, feelings, and body reactions you experienced during the events and now
- Discover the meaning of these events for your life
Session 12 – Final Session:
- Receive your personal lifeline and narration from your sessions
- Reflect your overall life story and what you achieved in the program
- Change the focus from the past to the present and future.
To participate in this program, you must:
- Be a current or past professional or volunteer firefighter
- Live in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI, Newfoundland, or Ontario
- Be 18 years or older
- Speak and write English
- Have access to a computer, laptop, or tablet with high speed Internet
- Have experienced a traumatic experience and show significant PTSI symptoms (the research team will ask some screening questions to determine if you meet this criteria)
- Consent to be audio- or video-recorded (recordings would be strictly confidential)
You may not be able to participate if:
- You have recently changed mental health medications
- Are currently, or have in the past, participated in another type of exposure therapy
- Have certain other mental health conditions (please contact us for further information)
The research team is located throughout Canada, but this study is primarily taking place in at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, NB and the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, NS.
The intervention that is being delivered, though, is being delivered by video chat. That means that firefighters who want to participate from the comfort of their own home.
This study is starting now and accepting participants! It will take place from 2020-2021. We are looking for 25 firefighters to participate in the study, so the study may end early if we reach this number before the end of 2021.
Please contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or (506) 458-7924 with any questions. We would be happy to hear from you.