Alberta’s government is proud to continue supporting the first responders that Albertans rely on when they need help the most. Non-profit service providers and Canadian-based researchers can apply for the fourth round of funding through the Supporting Psychological Health in First Responders program. Up to $1.5 million is available for the program in 2023. The application deadline is May 28.

“First responders and emergency health-care workers put their mental and physical health on the line every day to keep Albertans safe. It is vital that the government has their backs. That is why Alberta’s government is providing extra supports to help improve services and support research efforts, which will help alleviate suffering for those dealing with post-traumatic stress, so they can continue to protect and serve Albertans.”

Brian Jean, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Northern Development

Alberta has more than 33,000 first responders and emergency health-care workers who are at greater risk for work-related mental health issues.

“We are committed to putting the right supports in place to protect the health and well-being of all Albertans. For our first responders, dealing with stressful situations can have a significant negative impact on their well-being and it is important that we invest in them to ensure they have the best supports available to do their job to the best of their abilities.”

Jason Copping, Minister of Health

“When emergencies and disasters happen, we count on Alberta’s first responders to come to our aid. These everyday heroes face intense pressures on the job that can have serious consequences on their mental health, and with this new funding, our government is stepping up to support their mental well-being.”

Nicholas Milliken, Minister of Mental Health and Addiction

These grants support services such as peer support and resilience training for those living with or at risk of developing post-traumatic stress. In its first two cycles, 20 non-profit and research organizations received funding from this grant. Organizations like the Alberta Municipal Health and Safety Association provided access to free mental health training to first responders in rural communities.

“This grant greatly assists AMHSA in its efforts to support psychologically safe workplaces and first responders living with or at risk for post-traumatic stress injuries. Our project expands the available number and format of free Mental Health Commission of Canada training options for rural first responder communities to support inquiries from first responders and their families.”

Craig Hrynchuk, executive director, Alberta Municipal Health and Safety Association (AMHSA)

The grants also support applied research aimed at improving treatment programs and to develop and evaluate the most effective treatment programs and services for first responders.

“This grant has enabled incredible research in support of our public safety personnel and health-care providers who work in demanding and unpredictable environments. Innovative interventions are needed to address post-traumatic stress injuries and related conditions that can result from frequent exposure to traumatic events, and these grants support our research to develop evidence-based programs.”

Suzette Bremault-Phillips, professor and director, Heroes in Mind, Advocacy and Research Consortium (HiMARC), University of Alberta

Non-profit organizations that provide services to first responders or emergency health-care workers living with or at risk for post-traumatic stress are eligible to apply for grants. Canadian-based individuals or organizations that conduct applied research are also eligible to apply. Funding amounts can vary, depending on the scope of services or research projects.

A full list of grant recipients, along with project outlines, can be found on Cycle three grant recipient information will be available in the coming weeks.

Budget 2023 secures Alberta’s future by transforming the health-care system to meet people’s needs, supporting Albertans with the high cost of living, keeping our communities safe, and driving the economy with more jobs, quality education, and continued diversification.