Saanich firefighters to benefit from mental health training
June 14, 2017
For Immediate Release
Saanich, BC – The Saanich Fire Department and Saanich Firefighters Association Local 967 are partnering to provide mental health training to all Saanich Firefighters.
Thanks to this joint initiative, 15 firefighters will be trained to become Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Resilient Minds trainers. Each of these trainers will then train approximately 20 other firefighters in the department.
The CMHA Resilient Minds course is a comprehensive four-module prevention program designed specifically for first responders to support them in areas of psychological trauma and workplace stress. The course helps firefighters recognize the signs of mental illness so they can get the support they need as quickly as possible.
“During their careers, firefighters are exposed to horrific accident scenes and incidents that may adversely impact mental health,” said Fire Chief Michael Burgess. “In recent years, awareness of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has become a growing concern which is why the Saanich Fire Department is taking a proactive approach to arm our members with important skills.”
The Saanich Fire Department also supports its members through a long-standing Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) Team. However, there is still a need to teach members additional skills that build their resilience to adverse events and allow them to better support those who may be dealing with a mental health challenge.
“Our team helps firefighters debrief from a specific incident, ultimately allowing them to return to their daily routines with less likelihood of developing PTSD,” added Saanich Firefighters Association Trustee Tom McConnell, who is also the department’s CISM and Peer-to-Peer Mental Health Coordinator. “We’re very proud of the work we’re doing to help our members both today and in the long term.”
Saanich Fire Department