Canadian Firefighter Magazine

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TELUS launches new mental health app for Canada’s frontline workers

October 21, 2020
By CFF Staff

Oct. 21, 2020, Canada – In support of the well-being of Canada’s frontline workers, TELUS announced the launch of Espri by TELUS Health, a mobile app that delivers mental health and wellness resources to support the rising mental health pressures faced by firefighters, police, physicians, nurses, care workers, emergency medical services, correctional officers and their family members.

“The current health emergency has highlighted the unique challenges faced by our hard-working frontline care workers. We are committed to improving health experiences for all Canadians, including providing impactful mental health tools to support the brave individuals who dedicate their lives to protecting us all,” said Darren Entwistle, President and CEO, TELUS. “By providing timely access to effective mental health resources, we are able to offer critical support to our essential frontline workers, first responders and clinicians, in turn, enabling them to keep all Canadians safe and well, today and in the future.”

Frontline workers are exposed to incidents of trauma, violence, and grief, making them more likely to experience mental health issues. In 2017, a study in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry found that 44.5 per cent of first responders, including paramedics, police officers, and firefighters, screened positive for symptoms consistent with mental disorder, four times higher than the general population (10 per cent). Similarly, the Canadian Medical Association’s 2018 National Physician Health Survey reported that one in four physicians experience high levels of burnout, with others reporting signs of depression and addiction.

Frontline workers also face considerable barriers and stigma to accessing mental health resources.

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“Despite the impact and prevalence of mental health issues, many people do not proactively seek support,” said Dr. Diane McIntosh, Chief Neuroscience Officer at TELUS. “We know that frontline workers often feel isolated and alone in dealing with mental health challenges. With Espri by TELUS Health, we can help support them in breaking down those barriers and provide a platform where they can confidently and confidentially access the support they need.”

Features and tools for mental wellness and support for crisis and prevention include:

  • Learn: A resource hub that provides quick access to relevant, clinically-informed, and occupation-specific content from the organization, TELUS Health, and/or third party providers.
  • My Plan: A goal-setting tool that helps workers build positive habits by setting and completing mental health and wellness goals
  • Group video: A video call feature that enables organizations to host virtual one-on-one, peer and group therapeutic sessions and educational programming while allowing consent-based, anonymous participation, protecting users’ safety and identity
  • Get Support: A resource list that offers one-click navigation to an organization’s preferred support resources, such as crisis lines, employee and family assistance programs, critical incident stress programs and access to healthcare professionals including psychiatrists, psychologists and mental health experts.

Eligible frontline workers are able to access the app through their employer or member organization.