First Responder Mental Health Treatment Services: Formative evaluation of a pilot program

Reasons for the study

Ontario's Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) has contracted with Insight Health Solutions - Trillium Health Partners to establish a mental health assessment and treatment specialty pilot program for first responders with an accepted workers' compensation claim arising from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depression or substance use disorder.

The Institute for Work & Health (IWH) and the Institute for Better Health (IBH) are collaborating on a formative evaluation of this pilot program, called First Responder Mental Health Treatment Services. The formative evaluation includes four components, with IWH and IBH each leading two.

The formative evaluation is describing the extent to which the program is addressing perceived needs as experienced by first responders participating in the program. It is also collecting observations from clinical staff on features of the program's implementation, conducting an analysis of longitudinal clinical measures, and collecting both qualitative and quantitative information from representatives of first-responder employers to understand the challenges and opportunities in accommodating a first responder’s return to work following treatment for PTSD.

Objectives of the study

  • Conduct interviews with clinical providers regarding program suitability and effectiveness in meeting and supporting client needs (Component 1, led by IBH)
  • Conduct interviews with first-responder clients regarding program appropriateness, suitability and effectiveness (Component 2, led by IBH)
  • Conduct a quantitative analysis of client clinical measures as indicators of progress in the program (Component 3, led by IWH)
  • Conduct interviews with employers to understand perspectives on supporting return to work among first responders in treatment for PTSD (Component 4, led by IWH)

Target audience

Associations representing Ontario's first-responder employees; Schedule 2 employers of first-responders in Ontario

Project status


Research team

Collaborators and partners

Institute for Better Health – Trillium Health Partners
Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB)

Funded by

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB)