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New national program supports psychological health of Canadian fire fighters

Vancouver, December 1, 2020 – Today, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) expands its Resilient Minds© program from British Columbia and Prince Edward Island into the Yukon, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador. This program, the first of its kind, brings formal psychoeducation to fire halls and departments nationwide, mitigating occupational stress and trauma responses, while building healthier teams. 

Co-developed by CMHA, Vancouver-Fraser with Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services in 2016, Resilient Minds© is an evidence-based, peer-led, skills and resilience development training program designed by and for fire fighters.

To date, Resilient Minds© has successfully equipped fire fighters across BC and PEI with skills to safeguard their psychological health. The program is designed for both career and volunteer fire fighters and is quickly becoming a sought-after program in the fire-fighting community across the country.

“Firefighters work hard to protect our communities, and Resilient Minds© can help protect their mental health,” said Margaret Eaton, National CEO, CMHA. “This program keeps fire fighters well and teaches them how to identify psychological stress and trauma in themselves, their peers and members of the public. CMHA is proud to be offering Resilient Minds© to more first responders nationwide.”

In numbers

Fire fighters are exposed to significant trauma as a result of their work and require skills to safeguard their psychological health, skills that are not taught as part of their technical training. This skill deficit not only puts them at risk of developing a psychological illness, but contributes to a high rate of suicide amongst fire fighters; 30% higher than the general population.

Recognizing that many other first responders, such as paramedics and nurses are in need of this training, CMHA is prepared and eager to begin adapting Resilient Minds© for other first response sectors. There is a clear need for evidence-based solutions to support first responders in a way that is specific to their occupational stressors. CMHA is dedicated to promoting mentally healthy cultures and behaviours within fire services more broadly.


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