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City of Mississauga
Mental Health Strategy for Mississauga Fire and Emergency Services

Location: City of Mississauga, ON; Canada
Project Owner: Shawn Matheson, Fire and Emergency Services, City of Mississauga 
Facilitators: Karyn Stock-MacDonald, City of Mississauga


Shawn Matheson
Fire and Emergency Services, 
City of Mississauga


Karyn Stock-MacDonald
City of Mississauga


Evidence shows that first responders such as police personnel, firefighters and paramedics are at least twice as likely as the general population to suffer from PTSD and other mental illnesses.  Ensuring the City has the resources they need to improve mental health supports for its first responders is vitally important to the organization.

The objective of the project was to develop a Shared Vision and Mental Health Strategy for Mississauga Fire and Emergency Services.  We used a facilitated planning approach to achieve the project objective that included:

  • Gathered a team from various level of Fire and Emergency Services (Leadership for front line), HR, Organization’s health providers and experts, Union Reps.
  • Facilitated the development of a Shared Vision for a mentally healthy workplace.
  • Facilitated the identification of underlying obstacles to achieving the Vision
  • Facilitated the generation of solutions to obstacles and the development of strategies to realize the Vision.
  • Held World Cafes with the “rank and file” to roll out the strategy, strengthen it, and discuss implementation.

Key Results Achieved

The project achieved the following results.

  • Achieved the goal of developing a mental health strategy
  • Helped remove the stigma and made the discussion of mental health a normal part of the work environment
  • Created and expanded mental health programs for Emergency Services workers, such as peer and family counselling, quick access to medical and psychological services, awareness and  recognition training for leaders, resiliency training for front line Fire Fighters, introduction of ongoing assessment tool to measure progress
  • Achieved the City’s goal of compliance  with Provincial Psychological Health and Safety Standards
  • Contributed to the Organizational Goal of Fostering a Healthy, Safe, Inclusive and Respectful Workplace