Resilient Minds™ is an evidence-informed, peer-to-peer, skill-building program designed by and for career and volunteer fire fighters across Canada to develop strategies to mitigate and better manage occupational stress and enhance personal resilience, resulting in informed and healthier teams.
Resilient Minds is comprised of four, two-hour training modules that engage and inform first responders in four crucial areas to their work: trauma, psychological distress, trauma-informed responses and building resiliency. The program builds skills needed to reduce personal risks related to psychological impacts, and assist colleagues, family, or members of the public who may be struggling with a mental health problem or are in crisis.
Innovative and evidence-informed – Resilient Minds is a skills and resilience development training course designed by and for fire fighters using the latest literature on resilience, stress and stress-related injuries.
Fire fighters train fire fighters – Using a peer-to-peer model of instruction, the Resilient Minds curriculum is taught by fire fighters to fire fighters.
Volunteer and career fire fighters – Resilient Minds is the only training program designed to train both career and volunteer fire fighters and takes into consideration the differences in experience and resources available to the two groups.
Resilient Minds will increase the ability to:
- Recognize the effects of psychological stress/trauma in self and peers
- Communicate with peers who may be struggling
- Respond promptly, safely and appropriately to distressed citizens
- Apply personal strategies for managing stress, mitigating trauma and boosting resilience
Resilient Minds is the only training program designed to equip both career and volunteer fire fighters, considering the need for differences in experience and resources available between the two groups. According to the National Fire and Paramedic Association (NFPA), more than 80 per cent of Canada’s fire fighters are volunteer-based, with significantly less access to the training and development opportunities that are afforded to career fire fighters.
The Canadian Mental Health Association is committed to supporting fire fighters in a way that is specific to their occupational stressors.
Proven positive outcomes
Of individuals who have completed Resilient Minds training:
- 100 per cent learned better ways to manage stress and increase resilience
- 100 per cent gained knowledge on psychological trauma and psychological disorders
- 97 per cent felt better equipped to respond and support a colleague showing signs of psychological distress or illness
- 96 per cent reported feeling more prepared to respond to a member of the public who may be struggling with psychological health issues
- 93 per cent learned effective tools to handle stress
“From a chief’s point of view, I stand behind Resilient Minds and support it being a mandatory training. The program gave us resources and tools we could use to help us deal with critical incidents.”
– Chief Johnny Dugay, Kinkora and Area Fire Department, Kinkora, P.E.I.
“I think Resilient Minds should be part of the core training for every firefighter. Not only did this program help me develop the tools when dealing with my own mental health issues, but it made it easier to have the conversation within our department. Early identification and treatment is key and you can’t get treatment if you can’t talk about it.”
– Firefighter Joe White, Cross Roads Fire Department, Stratford, P.E.I.
Resilient Minds is an eight-hour workshop comprised of four, two-hour training modules that engage and inform first responders in four crucial areas to their work: trauma, psychological distress, trauma-informed responses and building resiliency.
Learning Module One
Psychological Trauma – Awareness and Understanding
Fire service staff will learn the definitions of resilience, stress and trauma, and the various responses a healthy human may experience after a stressful or traumatic event, followed by assessment and intervention practices to mitigate the negative impacts of trauma, psychological distress and disorder.
- Define resilience and stress
- Build an understanding of psychological trauma and the impacts on personnel
- Learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of stress and trauma
- Encourage early response to psychological trauma
- Promote recovery after trauma
Learning Module Two
Psychological Trauma – Potential Risks and Strategies
Psychological trauma is explored further. Through the application of the ‘4R Action Toolkit,’ fire service staff will learn the importance of early recognition and early intervention to prevent a moderate-to-severe mental health problem from developing.
- Provide an overview of assessment and intervention: The 4R Action Toolkit
- Develop communication skills
- Explore treatment options
- Discuss and review crisis intervention
- Identify how to support peers and promote recovery
Learning Module Three
Responding with Respect – Psychological Distress & Disorder
Fire service staff will develop a basic understanding of psychological health, psychological disorders and the definition and importance of a trauma-informed response. They will learn to apply the 4R Action Toolkit to effectively communicate and appropriately respond to a citizen, colleague or family member experiencing a mental health problem/crisis.
- Recognize the usefulness and key components of trauma-informed responding
- Increase understanding and recognize signs of psychological distress and disorders
- Develop effective communication skills to respond and support individuals
- Discuss appropriate and safe responses to challenging situations
- Gain an understanding of resources
Learning Module Four
Managing Workplace Stress and Building Resiliency
Fire staff will explore the risk factors and impact of workplace/life stress and will learn to strengthen their resiliency by building valuable and helpful coping strategies.
- Recognize negative impacts of work-life stress
- Identify components of burnout, compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma
- Develop action toolkits to limit work stress
- Build resilience and strengthen psychological health
- Resilient Minds™ course (Eight hours)
A firefighter instructor provided through CMHA delivers the course to your fire department.
- Train-the-trainer course (Three days)
This workshop prepares and certifies firefighters to become peer instructors to deliver the Resilient Minds course to their fire department. This model best serves large fire departments that require multiple peer instructors. This course is co-instructed by a certified CMHA educator and a certified firefighter instructor.
Please note that all training is now available and/or deliverable virtually. The virtual Resilient Minds Course remains peer-led and highly interactive.
Interested in getting the Resilient Minds course to your fire department?
For more information, to inquire about fees or to book training, please contact:
Program Manager, Resilient Minds (Ontario)
Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario