First Responders Respond to Mindfulness

New feasibility study with Canadian first responders shows five to 10 minutes a day of online mindfulness training reduces stress, increases resilience and improves self-care

TORONTO, April 27, 2017 /CNW/ - After participating in online mindfulness training for just five to 10 minutes a day for 30 consecutive days, 178 Canadian first responders from across the country experienced less stress, greater resilience and increased engagement at work. The first responders, who completed the 30 Day Mindfulness Challenge in March 2017, serve in policing, fire, EMT, rescue, ER, 911 and the military.

The online mindfulness training was donated by MindWell-U, a Vancouver-based mindfulness consultancy that delivers evidence-based mindfulness training to organizations including the Mental Health Commission of Canada, Coca-Cola Canada, UBC and Harvard Law School.

"The 30 Day Mindfulness Challenge is an evidence-based mental health tool that supports employees in the workplace. Because it's just a few minutes a day and accessible from any device at any time, we thought it could really benefit first responders," says Dr. Geoff Soloway, Co-Founder and Chief Training Officer at MindWell-U. "The Challenge also teaches something we call 'mindfulness-in-action' so participants learn how to be mindful in the middle of whatever they're doing, whether that be delivering a lecture, closing a deal, operating heavy machinery or responding to an emergency."

First responders reported the following outcomes in two separate surveys:

  • 95% feeling better about their health and wellbeing
  • 93% managing stress better
  • 92% practicing greater self-care
  • 92% focusing better on tasks
  • 91% engaging more with work
  • 91% managing conflict better
  • 89% treating others more kindly
  • 88% communicating better
  • 83% experiencing improved leadership skills
  • 81% collaborating better with others
  • 80% managing time better

In addition, 97% of participants were satisfied with the training, and almost everyone said they had integrated mindfulness into their life and plan to stick with it.

"The 30 Day Mindfulness Challenge taught me to take a step back and look at things more clearly instead of getting caught up in the moment," says one Toronto area paramedic.  "Learning to respond instead of react has lowered my stress and made me more effective at my job whether I'm driving an ambulance or administering first aid."

Mental Health Week May 1-7
In celebration of Mental Health Week, MindWell-U has made many of its mindfulness resources available for download at no cost and included recommendations on how the videos, infographics and presentations can be used to support employee mental health. To access the materials visit:

About MindWell-U
Based in Vancouver, Canada, MindWell-U delivers evidence-based, bilingual mindfulness training that leads to less stress, more joy and peak performance. For nearly a decade, MindWell-U's in-person and online training has made mindfulness accessible and relevant in the workplace, on campus, in the hospital, and on the sports court. Visit for more information.


For further information: For more information or to book an interview with Dr. Geoff Soloway or a first responder who has completed the mindfulness training, please contact: Sharifa Campbell, High View Communications,, 416-322-5897 x 227

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