Provincial Wellness Project

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Vicarious Trauma

Trauma Care involves an awareness that psychological impacts can occur for victim service personnel with a focus on prevention and management with a support and care model (Mental Health Coordinating Council, 2015).  Working with victims of trauma leads to psychological consequences that requires acknowledgment and an action plan by both the organization providing the service to victims and those providing the frontline support to victims of crime. Given the complexities of trauma work, Program Managers (PMs) need support to clarify issues, while at the same time building resiliency.

The team approach has proven to be effective and can assist PMs identify and deal with their reactions to both victim trauma stories and their own experiences (Geller, Madsen, & Ohrenstein, 2004). As suggested by the US Department of Health and Human Services (2005), a variety of strategies will form the Provincial Wellness Team Model including on-going support for program managers; training material with an implementation plan; and the research project, which will compare the differences between urban and rural programs in Alberta.

Thanks to a grant form the Department of Justice Canada, Victim Services Alberta is able to offer psychological support and training to the employees of police-based victim service units across Alberta.

Wellness Project Model of Support

Trauma Care and informed practice provides the elements to establish necessary leadership and constructive culture within the Alberta Police-Based Victim Services Association [APBVSA] and its related members [detachments and units]; through direct intervention and support to Program Managers.   This Project will provide the framework for support and wellness that can be utilized by programs that vary in location, size, number of volunteers and number of paid staff.  It can be adapted to isolated, rural or municipal programs. Below is an illustration of the concepts discussed.  The following components will comprise the Well Project.

  • Direct Intervention, Consultation, and Support to Program Managers
  • Training Development and Delivery Plan
  • Research Component

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Wellness Project Lead

Dr. Scott McLean, PhD, BCFT, RSW brings an extensive background as an educator and justice service/ mental health consultant to his role as the Project Lead with Victim Services Alberta.
Scott’s clinical practice includes trauma counselling with crime victims and vicarious trauma interventions with first responders. Scott has worked extensively with victim services units across the province and other organizations such as STARS, Calgary Fire Department, Golden Hills School District, Women’s Shelter, and Erimineskin School Division.  He is committed to achieve the primary goal of the Wellness Team Project which is to reduce the impact of vicarious trauma, and build individual and collective resilience.

Dr. McLean’s role with the Wellness Project will be:

Direct Intervention, Consultation, and Support to Program Managers

  • Providing incident defusing and debriefing consultation to PMs via phone, skype, and in-person [on occasion] related to specific circumstances or events within the local community.
  • Facilitating a monthly group on-line [GotoMeeting] allowing PMs to collaborate and provide support between each other.
  • Coordinating relevant and appropriate trauma care and practice training during an annual conference.
  • To provide factual information about the criminal justice system and resiliency in managing vicarious trauma.

Training Development and Delivery Plan [developmental and time-limited]

  • Development of Provincial Wellness Team Model materials and Trauma Care and Resiliency Training resources with a training schedule.
  • Information sharing of the Provincial Wellness Team Model and its related components to PMs within each of the 11 Regions.
  • Facilitation and delivery of the Trauma Care and Resiliency Training components to PMs within each of the 11 Regions.
  • Consultation and support to PMs implementing the Model within their unit.
  • Recognizing the various differences and needs within each unit, support will be provided to PM’s in adapting the Model to their unit.

Research Component

  • Evaluation
    • Establish surveys for PMs to complete regarding the Model effectiveness and satisfaction of PMs in their implementation of the Model. [This is to be completed for each component].
    • Completion of analysis of the surveys that will be distributed to PMs that will also highlight best practices.
  • Research [Conducted by Centre of Criminology and Justice Studies – Mount Royal University]
    • Establish guidelines and completion of the ethics proposal; and conduct a literature review.
    • Establish ethical protocols and processes for PMs to participate or opt-out of the research project.
    • Administer the Professional Quality of Life [ProQOL].
    • Completion of research data, statistical analysis, and a research article related to vicarious trauma for front-line Program Managers that will also highlight the implementation of the Model, and best practices.

Use this link to contact Dr. Scott McLean project leader:
Wellness Project email: projectlead@victimservicesalberta.com

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