REGINA -- A researcher at the University of Regina is developing a new form of online mental health support for first responders.

The tool provides online therapy for first responders to deal with various types of emotional stress, in the form of written resources and a weekly conversation with a counsellor.

“There’s so many reasons people don’t get care,” Researcher Heather Hadjistavropoulos said. “Rural and remote location is probably number one, but also just time, not having the time to go for care.”

The online setup is geared toward making users more comfortable with the process, and making it more accessible to people with busy schedules.

First responders believe the online approach will make it easier to take the first step toward seeking help.

“Especially in my industry, which is definitely male-oriented, I think pride weighs very heavily on saying ‘Hey I need some help’ where this is a little more confidential,” Firefighter Chad Wolbaum told CTV News.

The online resource will first become available in Saskatchewan, and Hadjistavropoulos hopes to make is accessible to first responders across the country.