The Road to Mental Readiness
What is The Road to Mental Readiness?
The Road to Mental Readiness (R2MR) is a performance and mental health training and education program developed by the Canadian Forces Health Services Directorate of Mental Health to improve well-being and short-term performance, while mitigating any negative long-term mental health problems for Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel and their families.
History and Collaboration
The R2MR program, originally launched as the Mental Health & Operational Stress Injury Joint Speaker’s Bureau in 2008, encompasses the suite of performance, resilience and mental health training that is now embedded throughout CAF members’ careers. R2MR curriculum is developed based on the latest evidence-based research in the areas of performance, stress management, resilience, mental health and adult education. It has also been influenced by the principles of sports psychology, as well as cognitive behavioural theory.
Since its inception the program has fostered partnership and collaboration with national stakeholders and international allies such as the United States Marine Corps, the US Army, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR), the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF), Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC), Guarding Minds at Work, the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR), and the Armed Forces of the Netherlands, among others.
R2MR has shared its content and lessons learned with numerous organizations over the years, including the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), Resident Doctors of Canada (RDoC), The Ottawa Hospital (TOH), Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment (CIPSRT), Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC), Danish Ministry of Defence, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), University of Ottawa, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Ontario Police College (OPC) and others.
Why Mental Readiness
Mental skills are important determinants of performance and well-being. Military training needs to prepare individuals psychologically for the various challenges and scenarios they may face in a given situation. This is the role of mental readiness training.
The program is comprised of a set of trainable mental competencies that are held to underpin resilience and mental toughness. Resilience is the ability to recover quickly, resist or even thrive in the face of stress and overcome obstacles, challenges and adversity. Mental toughness is the personal capacity to deliver high performance on a regular basis despite varying degrees of situational demands.
Improving Performance and Resilience
The performance cycle is all about the key elements for optimal performance and well-being: prepare, perform, recover.
The Big Four +
The Big Four are the core skills which enhance performance and maintain mental health: activation control, visualisation, goal setting, and self-talk. The ‘Plus’ skills are included in select courses.
Mental Health Continuum
The mental health continuum allows for quick a check-in to estimate performance and well-being and any need to seek further support.
Suite of R2MR Courseware
The R2MR program is integrated in a building block manner to progressively meet the relevant demands and responsibilities faced by CAF personnel and their families. Each R2MR course is developed to meet the distinct needs of its target audience and is a part of a performance and resilience lifecycle intended to provide support to members and their families.
Going Beyond the Classroom
Recognizing that repeated application and practice of mental skills both in the training environment and in daily life improves retention and effectiveness, the R2MR program has expanded training beyond the classroom environment. This includes providing personal training tools directly to CAF members by developing a mobile application, improving the ability of CAF course instructors to coach mental skills in regular training activities, and improving the ability of the CAF leadership to mentor these skills throughout the career cycle.
Who delivers R2MR?
While the program is based at Canadian Forces Health Services Headquarters in Ottawa, R2MR Delivery staff are located at Bases and Wings across Canada to meet regional training requirements.
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