What the Chiefs and Fire Fighters are Saying…
Prior to understanding the value of and need for prevention programming around trauma exposure, we were focused primarily on post-incident support. All of our suppression response staff have now received Resilient Minds training and are better equipped to understand those effects. In turn, our Department has continued the move to a more progressive and holistic wellness model that is inclusive of a wide variety of programs and support mechanisms. The emergency response industry needs to continually evolve and adjust as we learn more about the career-long cumulative effects of trauma exposure. The Resilient Minds program acts as a positive and progressive first step for all first responders.
The training was excellent. From a fire fighter's point of view, Resilient Minds was very relatable. Having facilitators who were knowledgeable and having smaller classes sizes encouraged open dialogue. We’ve adopted Resilient Minds well in our department. Our membership has taken to it and communication on mental health has really improved after the training.
As leaders, we must do all that we can to provide training and tools for all of our staff when it comes to mental health and potential stress related injuries. We talk about how important prevention and education is when it comes to reducing the impact of fires, but it is equally, if not more important, when protecting our fire fighters, dispatchers, investigators and chief officers. The Resilient Minds program lays a foundation of education and awareness for our department – we talk more openly and look out for each other.
From a Chief's point of view, I stand behind Resilient Minds and support it being a mandatory training. It's so beneficial and it's so important for a lot of people to understand that the stresses of being on the job can affect them both personally and family life. It helped us realize that as fire fighters we can have mental health problems ourselves. The training gave us some outlets, other resources and a few tools that we could use to help us deal with critical incidents.
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.
I am exposed to a variety of traumatic events. With time, these events have the potential to take a toll on me, to affect my mental and emotional health. However, through the Resilient Minds training, I learned techniques that allow me to process these traumatic events immediately rather than supressing them. Because of Resilient Minds, I no longer internalize these situations - I am better equipped to deal with and process the traumatic events that I encounter as a fire fighter. I am thankful that Resilient Minds was available to me and I highly recommend it to other fire fighters.
I would highly recommend that Resilient Minds be done for any fire department. All the sessions were useful. The trainer established a safe learning environment that encouraged communication. Fire fighters felt safe sharing their feelings. Knowing that we can talk to each other and accept that we're all different is good. One of the key things I took away from Resilient Minds was recognizing that there are tools available to help us deal with the challenges that fire fighters face.
It was a course that I really liked. The Resilient Minds Instructor did an amazing job. I found the information really interesting. Resilient Minds opened up another toolbox to help us deal with the things that bother us. People are now more open to talking about it which is great.
I found the Resilient Minds training very helpful. Everything was covered very well and the workbooks and slideshows were very useful. It was delivered in our own Firehall so we felt comfortable asking questions and discussing things. I definitely feel that I can talk about things better now that we’ve all taken this course together.
The connection between the instructor and the students was seamless because the instructor attended a lot of the things that the people participating in the Resilient Minds training had been on as well. The course gave us better tools for building resilience to some of these traumatic and stressful events that we are all exposed to on a fairly regular basis. It has made us much more aware and much more open to have discussions with our fellow members. If you’ve not had an opportunity to take the Resilient Minds training, by all means try and take it.
Resilient Minds was wonderful and I could relate to the techniques that were discussed. I liked the approach of presenting different points of view and stories, but all built and resulting towards the same outcome. It made me realize that other people go through the exact same things I do, and listening to them on how they dealt with issues was comforting and helpful. After I took the course, I’m more empathetic towards my fellow firefighters. I’m more open to having a conversation with them and listening to their actual issues.
The safety of first responders is our priority, both physical and mental. We actively seek out ways to improve our team’s health, and Resilient Minds has become a baseline tool for our department. All of our new recruits are provided Resilient Minds as part of their initial training. It has created a common language that encourages open discussion.
I'm a big advocate of Resilient Minds—it helps open your eyes and showed there are people willing to listen. If you ever feel down, always remember that there is always someone there to help you get up. All you do is ask. We can't help people if we don't help ourselves first.
Resilient Minds was a super beneficial course that showed us a different way to process things and a different way to approach critical incidents so that it doesn’t have to be a forever injury. It was very useful having the facilitators who were volunteer firefighters and dealing with critical incidents because nobody understands it better than your peers. There was a lot of open discussion about how to break through the stigma barrier. The biggest thing that came out from the course was that people need to just keep talking about what they’re feeling because it is a normal reaction to an abnormal event.
Members that have completed the training continue to reference it as some of the best training they have participated in during the course of their careers.