COVID-19 and Mental Health (CMH) Initiative: Research

COVID-19 Physical Distancing and Post-Traumatic Stress Injury: A Rapid Review of Virtual Trauma-Focused Therapy for Military, Veterans and Public Safety Personnel

Key Messages

  • Preliminary evidence for DH and TAPs: encouraging but limited
  • Advantages: convenience, accessibility, cost effectiveness, stigma reduction, and similar efficacy and drop-out rate to in-person delivery.
  • Barriers: technology, privacy, the therapeutic relationship, ease of client disengagement, incompatibility of elements of therapy with technology, clinician perspectives, safety.
  • Recommendations: ensure technology quality and security, intentional rapport, progress and commitment to therapy, revised therapy standards and practices, and risk and safety protocol.
  • Use of DH during pandemic response: While DH solutions are necessary, a cautious approach is warranted before widespread adoption of DH for TAPs, until more evidence-based literature is available.


  • Mental health
  • Trauma
  • Post-traumatic stress injuries
  • PTSD
  • Military
  • Veteran
  • Public safety personnel
  • First responders
  • Digital health
  • Psychotherapy


  • Nominated Principal Applicant: Suzette Brémault-Phillips, PhD, OT, University of Alberta
  • Chelsea Jones, MScOT, PhD (cand.)
  • Antonio Miguel Cruz, PhD, Eng.
  • Lorraine Smith-MacDonald, PhD
  • Emily Cruikshank, MEd, PhD (cand.)
  • Delaram Baghooi, MSc (cand.)
  • Avneet Kaur Chohan, BSc, MScOT (cand.)
  • Alexa Laidlaw, BSc, MScOT (cand.)
  • Allison White, BSW, MScOT (cand.)
  • Olga Winkler, MD
  • Lisa Burback, MD
  • Phillip R. Sevigny, PhD
  • Liz Dennett, MLIS
  • Martin Ferguson-Pell, PhD
  • Andrew Greenshaw, PhD

For more information, please contact: Suzette Brémault-Phillips,

Related Syntheses

Supplemental Links


(External links)

Full PDF

Lay Summary PDF


Healthcare, Front-line Workers and Public Safety Personnel


To ensure the rapid dissemination of this critical information, information is published in the language in which it was submitted. Please contact us for French or English translations.

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