The federal government has announced it will invest $30 million in work at the University of Regina to research post-traumatic stress injuries (PTSI) in public safety personnel.

The government says there is a lack of research to understand PTSI, which impacts more women and men. Public safety personnel are often exposed to traumatic events, putting them at a higher risk of operational stress injuries including PTSI.

"This funding provides us with an opportunity to engage in very much needed research. And piloting very much needed treatment, specifically for our public safety personnel across the country,” said Nicholas Carleton, University of Regina Psychology Professor and Scientific Director for the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research.

The plan is to work with the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment at the University of Regina.

“Public safety personnel put themselves in harm’s way to protect Canadians, putting them disproportionately at risk of post-traumatic stress injuries,” Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said in a news release. “We must do more to support their mental health and well-being. We need to break down barriers that have a disproportionate impact on women. When women have the opportunity to succeed, we all succeed.”

Ottawa is investing $20 million over five years, beginning in 2018-2019, to support a national research consortium between the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment. There will also be an additional $10 million invested over five years to develop an internet-based cognitive therapy pilot that can provide additional access to care and treatment for public safety personnel across the country.

“The traumatic incidents experienced by Canada’s public safety personnel during the course of their work can cause serious mental health as well as physical injury,” University of Regina President and Vice-Chancellor Vianne Timmons said in a release.

An estimated 70,000 Canadian police, firefighters and paramedics suffer from PTSI.