More B.C. firefighters will benefit from expanded psychological wellness program

More firefighters will learn how to develop and improve their mental-health resiliency through enhanced access to a psychological wellness training program.

The BC Occupational Awareness Training online program, administered by the BC Municipal Safety Association and First Responder Health, will be offered to BC Wildfire Service staff and include more training about how to manage daily stress and anxiety.

Launched in spring 2023, the online program is available to all municipal firefighters throughout the province and all BC Wildfire Services staff as of March 1, 2024. Phase 2 of the program, which includes 12 new training modules, will launch this summer.

The first year of the program focuses on helping firefighters understand mental health, learn how to manage stress and develop self-care strategies. It allows workers to watch a short video of 10-15 minutes from the series, followed by a guided crew discussion that is supported by a printable workbook. The videos and workbooks remain available online so firefighters who miss a session or join the department later can access these resources.

The Province is investing more than $1 billion in new funding to ensure people living with mental-health or addiction challenges can find, access and stay connected to care, including $586 million for treatment and recovery services specifically.

You can read the full press release at the link here.