Events

Conference set to provide safe space for Military Personnel and First Responders impacted by an OSI

The fourth annual First Responder & Military Personnel Mental Wellness & Suicide Awareness Conferences will take place over the next few weeks in different cities across Alberta.

Hosted by Legacy Place Society, an organization that is aimed at building resiliency within first responders, military members and their families, the First Responder & Military Personnel Mental Wellness & Suicide Awareness Conferences will take place in Calgary on Sept. 19 and in Edmonton on Sept. 26.

“The more we acknowledge and find ways to intervene proactively as well as address the intimidation, or uncertainty, of stepping forward to ask for help, I think we can make a significant impact on our fellow responders, veterans, serving members of our country and bring that human element to them that otherwise wouldn’t be addressed, Diana Legacy, executive director of Legacy Place Societ

 

The conferences, which have been endorsed by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, hope to provide a safe space for those impacted by Operational Stress Injuries to reduce stigma around mental health, addiction and reaching out for help.

“For the last four years we’ve collaborated with the first responders and military agencies in Alberta to put a date on the calendar where we could come together and collaborate and talk about some of the stigmas and sensitives around the subject of suicide, as well as how can we encourage people and give some hope,” said Diana Legacy, executive director of Legacy Place Society.

In the last several years the conference has grown exponentially with just under 1400 people attending last year.

The hope is that again this year, experts and individuals personally impacted by OSIs like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder will come out in large numbers. According to Legacy, many of the attendees of the conference have felt validated to acknowledge their emotions and even unhealthy behaviours, and it can be a turning point for some to ask for help.

The conference in Edmonton, slightly more geared towards military members, will feature Robert The Skidrow CEO as the keynote speaker. Robert speaks from his personal experiences of going from the streets to a successful business person to talk on resiliency and change.

The conference will also feature talks from experts in the field and others sharing lived experiences.

The conference is also an excellent opportunity for family members and other members of an individuals support network to come and understand the realities of their loved ones living with mental health concerns.

Overall Legacy hopes that the conferences become an important platform in creating healthy workplaces and increasing awareness and education on the topics of mental health and suicide awareness.

“The more we acknowledge and find ways to intervene proactively as well as address the intimidation, or uncertainty, of stepping forward to ask for help, I think we can make a significant impact on our fellow responders, veterans, serving members of our country and bring that human element to them that otherwise wouldn’t be addressed,” said Legacy.

For more information about the Calgary Conference, visit their website here. For more information about the Edmonton Conference, visit their site here.

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MIshall Rehman

Originally from Atlanta, GA, Mishall is a freelance journalist pursuing her passion for writing in her new homeland Canada. She currently lives in Trenton, ON with her husband.

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