News Archives: GPRC Successful in SSHRC Funding for PACT Team Research
Wednesday, October 12th, 2016
GRANDE PRAIRIE – Grande Prairie Regional College (GPRC) has partnered with the RCMP, Alberta Health Services and the City of Grande Prairie to engage in research designed to help improve the service model of the Grande Prairie Police and Crisis Team (GP-PACT) as well as lead to improved training of all officers who might respond to individuals in crisis.
“This is an important partnership for our community,” says Dr. Connie Korpan, GPRC Psychology Instructor and Project Principal Investigator. “All parties will play an important role; GPRC will provide research expertise to the project, but our partners will bring valuable knowledge and insight, as well as open the doors to gain access to the information we need in order to make this initiative a success.”
GPRC recently received a $232,488 grant from the Government of Canada’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) for GPRC Research & Innovation’s project, ‘Responding to mental illness crises in remote communities—Grande Prairie's Police and Crisis Team (PACT): An Evaluation’.
“PACT is an innovation and collaborative service team,” says RCMP District Commander John Ferguson, Grande Prairie RCMP. “The PACT team includes an RCMP officer and a mental health nurse who are focused in responding to potential individuals in crises, and providing help in achieving access to the services needed.”
Having a PACT team presence is incredibly important in our community, says Dr. Korpan.
“This research is incredibly critical for our community,” she says. “Grande Prairie is always changing. These changes, whether social, environmental or economical can act as stressors for individuals managing their mental health, and we need to ensure the research being done is leading to results that meet their needs.”
According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, mental illness affects almost all Canadians at some time personally or indirectly through a family member, friend or colleague.
“The work the PACT does is invaluable - it brings mental health expertise and help to people in crisis. It also serves to reduce the number of people unnecessarily in the criminal justice system or emergency departments,” says Donna Koch, AHS Executive Director, North Zone Addiction and Mental Health, Population, Public and Indigenous Health.
“I’ve always been interested in the wellness of communities,” says Dr. Korpan. “That’s why when this project came across my desk, I knew I wanted to be involved and to get students involved as much as possible too.”
GPRC student involvement has been present throughout the project and will continue for the duration of this project as well as future projects.
“What a wonderful opportunity for these students finishing their undergraduate work to be able to apply their knowledge to such important research in their community,” says Dr. Korpan.
This research project is the third major research initiative at GPRC and the first GPRC initiative in the social sciences.
“To have PACT studied and evaluated through our Grande Prairie Regional College is a wonderful opportunity,” says Bill Given, City of Grande Prairie Mayor. “I am looking forward to working with the college, and learning from their research to ensure our Grande Prairie PACT team is well-prepared and designed to meet the needs of our community”
Dr. Korpan couldn’t agree more.
“Our goal is to develop an even better PACT,” she says. “We want to improve communication among all parties who deal with mental health in the community and to implement evaluation strategies and training models that are ongoing and responsive to the changes in our community. I see this project as the beginning of an important partnership; it will be a long-standing one I’m sure.”
Learn more about this project!
For more information, please contact: