Lindsay, ON – Kawartha Lakes Fire Rescue is set to receive a significant boost to the mental well-being of their dedicated firefighters. The Fire Rescue is providing the Resilient MindsTM program to their teams, a training designed to build resilience, provide essential mental health support and equip firefighters with the tools they need to navigate the unique challenges of their profession.
Resilient Minds is an evidence-informed, peer-to-peer initiative that has been specially crafted by and for firefighters. It addresses the emotional demands that are inherent in the firefighting profession.
Kawartha Lakes Fire Rescue Services is offering their teams two Resilient Minds program options scheduled to be completed by the end of March 2024. Firefighters will undergo 14 Resilient Minds courses, equipping them with stress management, resilience-building, and peer support skills. Additionally, two Train-the-Trainers workshops will certify instructors to lead the program internally, cultivating a culture of mental health support across the team.
“The nature of firefighting exposes personnel to demanding and stressful situations, which can have a lasting impact on their mental health,” says Mike Matthews, Deputy Fire Chief, Kawartha Lakes Fire Rescue. “Having taken the course myself, I can say with confidence that I’ve gained invaluable techniques that have nurtured my own mental well-being. I look forward to witnessing the positive effects extended to my colleagues.”
“We’re pleased to offer these services to fire rescue teams across Ontario,” says Camille Quenneville, Chief Executive Officer, CMHA Ontario. “By equipping Kawartha Lakes Fire Rescue personnel with these vital tools, CMHA Ontario is helping firefighters effectively cope with stress, build resilience, and support one another.”
“Firefighter families often require supplementary support,” says Mark Graham, CEO of CMHA Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge (HKPR). “We offer housing, case management, vocational and justice programs, along with 24/7 crisis assistance through our toll-free number. Our specialized mental health training covers workplace well-being, suicide intervention, and mental health first aid. These programs empower individuals to address mental health and substance use concerns effectively.”
According to the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs, Ontario has 437 fire departments with a total of 30,716 firefighters. This includes 18,281 volunteer, 11,971 full-time firefighters, and 464 part-timers. Many of them work in small or rural regions, facing significant barriers to mental health care like cost and resource availability.
Thanks to the generous funding provided by Movember, many firefighters will benefit from Resilient Minds training. “Since late 2021, Movember has been supporting the evaluation of Resilient Minds, working to help determine its effectiveness in improving firefighters’ well-being,” says Ivy Lim-Carter, Director of Social Innovation, Mental Health and Suicide Prevention at Movember Canada, “We’re excited to see the program continue to grow and to have more of Ontario’s firefighting community able to participate.”
To learn more about Resilient Minds, please visit resilientmindsontario.ca.
Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario Division
Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario is a not-for-profit, charitable organization funded by the provincial government. We work to improve the lives of all Ontarians through leadership, collaboration and continual pursuit of excellence in community-based mental health and addictions services. Our vision is a society that embraces and invests in the mental health of all people. We are a trusted advisor to government, contributing to health systems development through policy formulation and recommendations that promote positive mental health. To donate or learn more, please visit ontario.cmha.ca.
About Kawartha Lakes Fire Rescue Services
Kawartha Lakes Fire Rescue Services is a composite fire department with Career and Volunteer Firefighters providing fire protection services out of 19 Fire Stations. KLFR serves a population of approximately 80,000 permanent residents and 30,000 seasonal residents and covers an area of 3,084 square kilometers. This puts our City as the second largest single tier municipality in Ontario. Kawartha Lakes is highly disbursed, with 24 distinct communities, the main population centres include; Bobcaygeon, Fenelon Falls, Lindsay, Omemee and Woodville. The department responds to approximately 2,500 emergency calls each year.
Movember is the leading charity changing the face of men’s health on a global scale. Since 2003, the men’s health movement has funded vital men’s health projects, challenged the status quo, shaken up men’s health research and transformed the way health services reach and support men. Taking on mental health and suicide prevention, prostate cancer, and testicular cancer with unwavering determination. Supporting men to live healthier, longer lives. Movember is working with community and expert partners year-round to improve the health of men and boys, their families, friends, and communities. The charity’s vision is to have an everlasting impact on the face of men’s health. Leading the charge in encouraging men to adopt healthy behaviours, challenging health systems and confronting gender norms to reduce health inequalities and save more lives.
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For more information, contact:
Elham Bidgoli (she/her),
CMHA Ontario Division
Jack Veitch (he/him),
Manager of Community Engagement and Education
CMHA Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge