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Physical and Occupational Therapy Students Develop Spot PTSD Toolkit

Posted by Brian Spence on Apr 27, 2018 8:00:00 AM

PTSD, Mental Health, Occupational TherapyPost Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health issue that can affect people who witnessed traumatic events. Terrible incidents are not only related to wartime. They can include accidents, sexual assaults, or criminal acts. Recently, several Canadian physical and occupational therapy students created a tool to help identify PTSD in individuals.

Student's Work Inspires Toolkit Creation

Graduate students at the McGill's School of Physical and Occupational Therapy (SPOT) created the Spotting PTSD toolkit to help identify the issue in first responders. Roaine Ash-Maheux is the principal investigator for the toolkit and initiated the project while working in equine therapy for a non-profit organization.

The occupational therapists met two retired first responders suffering from PTSD. These men left their professions after seeing several children die. They became depressed and stopped their normal activities. The former emergency responders believed they could have resumed their professions if they were treated for PTSD. It was their stories that inspired Ash-Maheux to launch the Spotting PTSD to solve their challenges.

Spotting PTSD Becomes a Graduate Project

Ash-Maheux told McGill's SPOT professors about the PTSD patients. The faculty members suggested that she use her idea for a graduate project. The graduate student selected several classmates to work with her: Jessica Monteferrante, Melanie Bartczak, Sharon Persad, and Atiya Nurse. Supervisors Dr. Heather Lambert and Dr. Hiba Zafran helped the students as well.

Two years later, they finished the PTSD materials for responders that have developed PTSD. The kit also offers tips and resources for emergency workers as well. McGill's SPOT students developed the evidence-based toolkit with input from Canadian emergency workers and non-profit groups. Organizations include the Suicide Action Montreal, Badge of Life Canada, and l'Alliance des Paramédics Professionnels pour l'Excéllence.

The Canadian Occupational Therapy Foundation gave the project a Marita Dyrbye Mental Health Award in 2015. This Spotting PTSD toolkit is available for download here.

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