K&P recently had the privilege of supporting the Canadian Institute for Pandemic Health Education and Response (CIPHER) as they held the CIPHER Collaboration Conference.
This inaugural two-day event featured CIPHER and nine additional projects exhibiting their research and created resources that focused on the mental health and wellbeing needs of Canadians uniquely impacted by COVID-19, including healthcare workers and caregivers. The research also included public safety personnel, a broad term meant to encompass personnel who ensure the safety and security of Canadians and their families every day.
Presentations and keynotes provided updates to key stakeholders about project results to date, evidence-based resources and guidelines, and proposed next steps to continue the benefits and supports for these Canadians.
These projects range in specialty and function, including:
- Evidence-informed training to public safety personnel.
- An innovative new e-mental health app for healthcare workers.
- Development of evidence-based resources for affected and at-risk healthcare workers using healthcare providers’ experiences.
- Equipping long-term care staff with the capacity to deliver training on what mental health is, why it matters, and what to do when mental health needs are identified.
- Development and maintenance of processes known to promote mental health in various organizational settings.
- Online mental health promotion resources to support the families of public safety personnel.
- A trauma-informed, peer-to-peer training program designed to enhance the personal resiliency of fire services personnel.
- Improving access to relevant and urgent training for public safety personnel and stakeholders.
The open discussions during the Q&A sessions and receptions allowed for the conference’s participants and those passionate about providing support to come together and share thoughts and findings with one another in constructive, beneficial conversations.
One of the core benefits of public relations is the ability to change thoughts, perceptions, and behaviours through effective communications. Sometimes, it is through drafted documents with well-vetted key messages and content, other times, it involves working with influencers or running media training sessions to prepare spokespeople to engage with audiences.
This event represented something different and special. These experts with decades of experience in research and healthcare needed the structure and space to talk about the vitally important work they have been so dedicated to. After years of isolation, lockdowns and separation from one another, this drive to meet in person to collaborate and ensure help for those who were and continue to be uniquely affected was inspiring.
The hard work that went into planning the event was more than worth it to be a small part of how health research and resources continue to be developed, bolstered by the collaboration and thoughts shared at the conference.
For more information about CIPHER and the different projects, please visit the CIPHER website here.