loader image

The Road to Mental Readiness for First Responders

Mental Health

We know that mental health is just as important as our physical health, but why do we often overlook mental health? Mental health is often overlooked because of social stigmas. In cultures with an “out of sight, out of mind” attitude, people tend to take physical illnesses or impairments as more important. While some mental illnesses can cause people to display their symptoms, other mental illnesses seem invisible.

Stigmas surrounding mental health are a barrier for people that prevents them from seeking help. Because of this, diagnosis and treatment for those with mental illnesses are often delayed or not recognized at all.

What Is Mental Readiness?

To prepare yourself for an upcoming task, case, or long day at work, many people often focus on getting physically prepared. One may work out to ensure they are physically capable of performing their duty, or make sure they have a healthy lunch to keep their energy up throughout the day. But what many people don’t consider when preparing to perform optimally at work is becoming mentally prepared.

So, what exactly is “mental readiness”? Mental readiness refers to the ability to create a balanced psychological state for one to perform at an optimal level. Being mentally ready can include learning how to focus, self-manage, and maintain a healthy discipline to approach and perform a task.

Mental readiness is the act of prioritizing your mental health and wellness. By doing so, you’re able to foster a safe and productive space to perform optimally whether you’re at work and performing daily tasks.

Why Is Mental Readiness Important for First Responders?

Mental readiness is important for first responders because they often face challenging and dangerous situations. Communities rely on first responders to keep them safe and part of doing so means knowing how to handle stress and danger. The nature of the work that first responders do is often highly stressful and can take a toll on one’s mental health. As a first responder, being mentally ready or prepared is crucial to performing optimally.

By focusing on your mental readiness as a first responder, you can improve your performance and long-term mental health.

About Road to Mental Readiness (R2MR)

Road to Mental Readiness, or R2MR, is a program designed to improve the performance and mental health of first responders. This program was created by the Department of National Defence and provided by CPSIRT. The objectives of the R2MR program is to:

  • Educate first responders about mental illness and operational stress injuries (OSI)
  • Reduce public and self-stigma, and negative attitudes towards mental illnesses
  • Increase support and understanding of mental health in first responders
  • Help first responders improve their resiliency and maintain their mental health with new skills
  • Promote mental health among first responders

The benefits of the R2MR program extend beyond the workplace, providing first responders with the skills and coping mechanisms needed to maintain their mental health at home too.

To participate in the R2MR program, you must be public safety personnel or directly support a public safety organization, including:

  • Police Services, (Municipal, Provincial or Federal)
  • Volunteer or Career Firefighters
  • Paramedics, Front Line or Managers
  • Correctional Employees (Provincial or Federal)
  • Border Services Personnel
  • Operational and Intelligence Personnel
  • Search and Rescue Personnel
  • Indigenous Emergency Managers
  • Dispatch and Communications Personnel
  • Hospital Staff, primarily Emergency Department Staff

Education and Training Resources

To learn more about the Road to Mental Readiness program, click here.

For all inquiries about education and training related to mental health, mental illness, and suicide prevention, please contact us.