NEED HELP NOW? Call 211 (Alberta) or 1-877-303-2642 (Canada) • For additional supports/local resources CLICK HERE
NEED HELP NOW? Call 211 (Alberta)
or 1-877-303-2642 (Canada)
For additional supports/local resources
Dealing with the Impacts of TraumaSupporting First Responder Mental Health in Alberta
Firefighters and other emergency responders are subjected to upsetting, disturbing, difficult and sometimes traumatic incidents on a regular basis. Self-awareness training and access to resources to help cope with occupational stress is vital to the health and wellbeing of first responders.
The Alberta Municipal Health and Safety Association (AMHSA) is partnering with the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) and TELUS Health to provide evidence-based training and tools to support firefighters in rural, remote and smaller urban communities living with or at risk of post-traumatic stress injuries (PTSI).
What Makes This Program Different?
Offered FREE for Rural and Small Municipality Fire and Rescue First Responders
The program is being made available free of charge to fire and rescue first responders who work in fire stations registered in rural, remote and small municipalities across Alberta, made possible with funding assistance from the Government of Alberta.
Eligibility has been expanded to include firefighters from smaller cities with populations less than 500,000.
Tried and True Program for Team Members and Leaders
- Evidence-based content
- Facilitated by mental health professionals
- Specifically designed for non-urban First Responders
- Delivered virtually within an Alberta context
- Supported by an exclusive booster app
- Complimentary to other mental health support programs
Programs are running in the first quarter of 2023.
What Program Participants are saying:
“As municipal first responders often respond to traumatic events in the rural communities in which they live and work, quality mental health supports are needed across rural Alberta. The new training being provided through the Alberta Municipal Health and Safety Association will support rural first responders in addressing the real risk of post-traumatic stress injuries that may be experienced as a result of their essential roles in our communities”.
“The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) is excited to be a partner in this important project. The Working Mind First Responder (TWMFR) course will make a meaningful difference in the lives of firefighters who take the training. We know from experience the program promotes mental wellness, increases resilience, and reduces the stigma associated with mental illness.”
“As a first responder, municipal mayor, and Alberta Municipalities Director on the AMHSA Board of Directors, I support AMHSA in its leadership role of providing mental health services to Alberta fire services first responders living with or at risk of post-traumatic stress injuries (PTSI). I encourage other municipal leaders to support the participation of its rural first responders in these sessions. First responder mental health is important now more than ever.”
Responding to the Call
Dedicated PTSI Training and Resources
The comprehensive program features an innovative combination of evidence-based, occupation-specific content and tools, including:
- MHCC’s The Working Mind First Responder (TWMFR) virtual training program
- Post-course booster training and self-management tools accessed through the TELUS Health Espri mobile app
What is PTSI?
The term ‘post-traumatic stress injuries’ (PTSI) is a non-clinical term that encompasses a range of mental health injuries, including some operational stress injuries (OSI), clinically diagnosed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression.
Who should attend?
Professional and community/volunteer rural fire services first responders and leaders. Eligibility has been expanded to include smaller cities.
Leaders: Fire Chiefs, Deputy Chiefs, Captains, Supervisors, Training Officers, Logistics Officers, etc.
Team Members: Firefighters, Hybrid Paramedic/Firefighters, Field Officers, Fire Suppression/Prevention Personnel, Dispatchers, etc.
Free Fire and Rescue Services participant registrations
Virtual Instructor Led Training (VILT) TWMFR sessions (15 participants per session)
Occupation-specific PTSI Resources and Videos
Supporting resources through the TELUS Espri mobile app
1. Instructor-led Virtual Training
The Working Mind First Responder (TWMFR) has been proven to improve resilience and decrease stigma in first responders. TWMFR consists of a series of instructor-led modules delivered over a two-day period.
2. Espri Mobile App
The downloadable TELUS Health Espri mobile app will provide booster training and supplementary PTSI content. Additional resources and tools in the app reinforce TWMFR training and help activate learnings to make self-care a regular part of work life, address operational stress injuries (OSIs), clinically diagnosed PTSD, anxiety and depression.
3. Specialized PTSI Content
Occupationally-informed, evidence-based content directly addresses prevention, stigma, management and recovery from PTSIs, specific to fire and rescue first responders. Content consists of both video and written articles.
A focused qualitative and quantitative evaluation of PTSI impacts offers occupationally-aware mental health training, resources and self-management tools to program participants.
Right from the source
Want more information on The Working Mind First Responder (TWMFR) from the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), the TELUS Espri app, and U of C’s program evaluation?
TWMFR Overview pdf
TELUS Espri app
U of C Evaluation
Education, Prevention and Support for PTSI
The AMHSA program will provide 375 Alberta Fire and Rescue Services first responders with free access to 25 virtually delivered sessions of TWMFR as well as tools and content on the TELUS Health Espri mobile app for self-directed TWMFR ‘booster’ training. This innovative combination of evidence-based mental health content is specifically related to prevention and recovery from PTSI.
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If you are a fire service first responder working or volunteering in a smaller Alberta municipality, you may qualify for free PTSI prevention training and resources.
Registrations are being accepted now. Space is limited.
TWMFR is offered virtually over two days, for a total of 7 hours of instructional training. Please select from one of the available dates or ask to be notified when we open up additional dates in early 2023.
Every effort is made to keep our training calendar up to date and accurate, however it is subject to change without notice. If we need to cancel a course, participants will be notified and offered alternative dates and times.
Participant contact information will be shared with the project partners – AMHSA, Mental Health Commission of Canada, TELUS Health, and the University of Calgary – for surveys, provision of certificates and training materials, and access to additional resources.
Please note that each participant must log in individually to the virtual classroom and engage through the platform with the facilitator (no classroom or group log-ins).
Supported by funding from the Government of Alberta