The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) today delivered a crash course in first responder mental health training to the House of Commons Committee on Public Safety and National Security (SECU).
The Road to Mental Readiness (R2MR) is a program originally developed by the Department of National Defence and repurposed by the MHCC for use by first responder organizations. It aims to improve short-term performance and long-term mental health outcomes, reduce barriers, encourage early access to care, and provide the tools and resources needed to manage and support employees who may be experiencing a mental illness. The training also includes custom videos of people with lived experience of mental illness and presents practice scenarios that allow participants to apply what they have learned.
Members of the SECU Committee were given a shortened version of R2MR training to better appreciate the challenges facing first responders in terms of mental health and wellness, and to better communicate the benefits of the program to organizations across Canada.
“Stigma is a major barrier preventing people from seeking help for mental health problems or mental illness, and first responders are no exception,” said Louise Bradley, MHCC President and CEO. “As we continue working to combat stigma, it’s very encouraging to have our Parliamentarians join this fight and promote R2MR in their communities so first responders know the resources available to them.”
“Last year, the SECU Committee tabled a unanimous report in the House of Commons entitled, Healthy Minds, Safe Communities: Supporting our Public Safety Officers through a national strategy for operational stress injuries, which called on the federal government to develop a national strategy for supporting our public safety officers and first responders,” said Pam Damoff, Member of Parliament for Oakville North-Burlington. “The mental health of our first responders and public safety officers is of critical importance to the health and safety of all Canadians. Our communities are stronger when our public safety officers are healthy. Programs like R2MR play an important role in helping us reach that goal.”
The MHCC currently has agreements with over 250 first responder organizations federally, provincially, and municipally to deliver R2MR training to personnel including police, fire, and paramedic organizations.
ABOUT THE MENTAL HEALTH COMMISSION OF CANADA
The Mental Health Commission of Canada is a catalyst for change. We are collaborating with hundreds of partners to change the attitudes of Canadians toward mental health problems and to improve services and support. Our goal is to help people who live with mental health problems and illnesses lead meaningful and productive lives. Together we create change. The Mental Health Commission of Canada is funded by Health Canada.
www.mentalhealthcommission.ca | strategy.mentalhealthcommission.ca
Hélène Côté, Senior Communications Advisor, Public Affairs
Mental Health Commission of Canada