Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care and The Royal partnering with Ministry of Labour on trauma research
Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care and The Royal partnering with Ministry of Labour on trauma research
Posted on 12/07/2017
Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care and The Royal partnering with Ministry of Labour on trauma research

On Dec. 7, 2017, Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care was pleased to have the Hon. Kevin Flynn, Minister of Labour, on site to announce a $248,000 grant supporting joint research by Waypoint and The Royal. The research is aimed at preventing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in mental health care providers, and ensuring those with PTSD receive timely support to return to work.
John Barrett-Hamilton, The Honourable Kevin Flynn, Minister of Labour, Carol Lambie & Dr. Zoe Hilton
John Barrett-Hamilton, Waypoint Board Chair, The Honourable Kevin Flynn, Minister of Labour, Carol Lambie, Waypoint President and CEO and Dr. Zoe Hilton, Waypoint Senior Research Scientist

“Mental health in the workplace is an issue that demands the attention of everyone from employers and employees to unions and the government. That’s why in 2016 we introduced a five-point strategy including legislation aimed at preventing PTSD in first responders,” noted Minister Flynn. He is hopeful that by working together with the Waypoint Research Institute and The Royal’s Institute of Mental Health Research the new research will assist in reducing barriers to support and give workers the help they need. On Dec. 6, 2017 the province announced it is proposing to increase first responder support to include all front-line nurses providing direct patient care. 

The research will examine workplace events associated with trauma at psychiatric hospitals, examine barriers to accessing supports to prevent and alleviate PTSD symptoms and help build workplace plans to reduce trauma-related disorders and encourage psychiatric workers to seek help. 

According to the Ministry of Labour, the grant is part of Ontario’s Research Opportunities Program supporting projects that improve occupational health and safety for workers and create better workplaces in the province. Research partnerships between the province and Ontario universities, health care organizations and research institutes contribute to the development of appropriate interventions to prevent injuries and illness, and help inform changes to legislation to improve workplace safety.

“At Waypoint, our mission is to improve the lives of those with mental illness and addiction. To do this it’s critical that our staff feel healthy and safe when they come to work at our hospital. I want to thank the Government of Ontario for its partnership and support” said Carol Lambie, Waypoint President and CEO. “By researching trauma in mental health care providers jointly with The Royal, we have the potential to improve the lives of psychiatric workers across this province which we know in turn will improve the outcomes for mental health care patients and clients.”

“At The Royal our world-class team of mental health professionals is dedicated to providing the best possible care to people suffering from severe and complex mental illnesses. While this work brings hope to many families, it can take a toll on our staff. Research on how to better prevent workplace PTSD and support staff who may be suffering will help us maintain a healthy and safe work environment while providing the right therapeutic milieu for patients – this is a top priority for me and our entire leadership team,” said George Weber, President and CEO of The Royal.

Waypoint’s Dr. Zoe Hilton who is co-leading the research with Dr. Michael Seto from The Royal noted that the Ministry funding will greatly enhance the reach and effectiveness of efforts to understand how workplace factors impact experiences of trauma among psychiatric workers, the very people who provide daily treatment and care for people with serious mental disorders. “Most people with mental disorders are not violent and live productive lives in the community, but some experience times of greater challenge, and caring for them can become very stressful or potentially traumatic,” she said. “We don’t yet have a good awareness of how psychiatric workers experience that stress, or cope with the trauma. This funding gives us the support we need to build on existing knowledge of trauma among first responders, to see the unique risks faced by psychiatric workers.”