First Responders

First responders play a crucial role in safeguarding communities, often first on the scene and facing high-stress situations and exposure to trauma. These demands can impact the First Responder’s mental wellness but acutely and cumulatively over time. The mental wellness of first responders can directly impact their ability to fulfill their critical roles effectively.

A resilient and mentally healthy first responder is better equipped to make critical decisions, provide compassionate care, and effectively navigate high-stress situations. Recognizing the importance of first responder mental health is essential for fostering a supportive environment within emergency services. The teams at Insight, and its partners, provide evidence-based, trauma-informed services for all First Responders including paramedics, police officers, firefighters, healthcare workers and corrections officers. 

At Insight Health Solutions, we support organizations and First Responders with high impact services focused on prevention, mental health awareness, access to counseling services, and effective assessments to support accommodation and return to work.  Our programming integrates with the organizational needs of the first responders’ workplaces. Insight augments services that the organization has available, with Insight’s arm’s length services protecting the employees’ privacy and anonymity.

WSIB First Responder Mental Health Pilot Program

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board’s (WSIB) First Responder Mental Health Pilot Specialty Program is an interdisciplinary program based on a stepped model of care, designed to provide effective and evidence-based care to Ontario’s First Responders. The program is offered through Insight Health Solutions (IHS) as well as our partners:

  • EHN Bellwood/Gateway Recovery Centre
  • Woodstock General Hospital
  • Wounded Warriors

In any given year, over 1,200 First Responders with occupational stress injuries access mental health services within WSIB’s health care continuum. First Responders have access to this program tailored to their specific mental health, occupational and workplace culture needs.

The goals of the program are to address the mental health impairments that are an impediment to return to work and function through stepped care that includes triage, assessment, residential care (where appropriate), outpatient rehabilitation, aftercare and residential psychoeducational group activities with other First Responders. 

This First Responder Specialty Program provides assessment and treatment services for First Responder workers who are struggling with their emotional well-being. A first-of-its-kind in the province, this pilot program delivers an innovative evidence-based mental health program that includes outpatient and residential treatment, provided by an interdisciplinary team of clinicians. All programming is specifically tailored to First Responders and can be accessed through virtual care or in person through a referral by the WSIB.


The starting point for all First Responder referrals is a fulsome triage assessment to determine suitability to the program. This includes a risk assessment and geographical program alignment to a site that is most suitable for the client. The assessment is completed with an interprofessional team consisting of a mental health clinician, occupational therapist, psychologist, and psychiatrist. This includes a clinical interview, administration of outcome measures, and a discussion about your diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment recommendations. It is a collaborative approach involving all members of the assessment team as well as additional information obtained from your community provider.


The First Responder Mental Health Program delivers innovative, evidence-based mental health treatment in both outpatient and residential environments by an interprofessional team of clinicians. All programming is specifically tailored to First Responders and can be accessed through virtual care or in person.

Treatment options in the FRMH program include both outpatient and residential programming using evidence-based treatment interventions such as Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT). The program also offers physical reactivation to optimize your physical health while also supporting your mental health needs and return to work support.

Culturally competent training

We understand the First Responder population has specific needs. Our program is tailored to meet those needs and our staff are trained to deliver care that is culturally appropriate. To ensure our team is providing the best possible care to our first responders, all treatment providers have extensive experience working with first responders and undergo annual cultural competency training with Wounded Warriors Canada. This will allow us to break down the barriers to assist their recovery, return to function and work.

Expedited Mental Health Program

We recognize that access to community providers can delay the start of support for First Responders when they need it. When a first responder is ready for support, we provide rapid access to clinicians to deliver assessment and ongoing treatment. We offer these expedited mental health assessments and treatments to ensure first responders are supported promptly in a time of need. All treatment providers have extensive experience working with first responders and undergo annual cultural competency training with Wounded Warriors Canada.

Employer Awareness Education and Training

To help organizations foster a proactive and informed workplace, we equip them with the knowledge and skills necessary to contribute to the well-being of first responders and their organizations. We offer varied employer sessions focused on various topics which provide information and training to support managers and leaders working with employees. Our team can customize sessions for employees, which can include topics around health and wellness supporting and focused to first responders.  Sessions for managers detail higher level strategies and background on areas of training focus. Topics covered include identifying risk factors, supporting positive performance and behaviours in self and others.

Pre-employment Psychological Assessments

As a part of pre-hire testing, we conduct pre-employment psychological assessments through our expert clinicians. This involves a comprehensive standardized interview along with psychometric testing generating an outcome report to advise on the recommendation to proceed through the hiring procedures.

Post Critical Incident Report Program

The Post-Critical Incident Support Program provides first responders with a standardized and systematic approach to early identification and access to services post-critical incidents. This supports first responders post incident and reduces time away from work.  Our clinicians conduct safety reviews, mental health history reviews, analyze supports and resources, and review outcome measures, symptoms, and any changes to functioning since the critical incident. Our clinicians provide support resources each session and will make recommendations if necessary.

Psychological and Psychiatric Assessment

Our psychologists and psychiatrists can help gain insights into the mental and emotional well-being of first responders. Psychological and psychiatric assessments are important in providing a comprehensive understanding of a person’s strengths, challenges, and overall mental health. In the workforce, especially for first responders who attend critical scenes, this is crucial in helping to tailor support and accommodations to meet their unique needs which helps to foster employee wellbeing across the company.

Functional Return to Work Program

Our interdisciplinary teams conduct return to work assessment and programming. This includes psychologists and occupational therapists who specialize in return to work support. Our services can integrate with the current processes of organizations’ return to work teams with Insight clinicians quantifying, supporting and progressing graduated and transitional work return programs.

Want to learn more about our Workplace Wellness services and solutions? We’d love to hear from you.

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