Fifth Annual First Responder Suicide Awareness Conference

About the Conference

Despite a societal shift toward the de-stigmatization of mental health, both our first responder communities, their families, and our general communities at large sometimes experience declining mental health, which can lead to suicide. As we seek answers following a tragedy, we’re collectively left struggling to comprehend the actions of our loved ones or respected colleagues.

Law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics, military personnel, corrections officers, 9-1-1 dispatchers, and a host of other related industries, are routinely exposed to trauma. Their families frequently experience vicarious trauma. It is during a time of crisis that response workers are at their best, but what happens to the helpers when they are done helping? What about the families? – they are the “first responders to the first responders.”

On September 19th, 2019, Legacy Place Society (, in collaboration with the Calgary Police Service, the Calgary Fire Department, Alberta Health Services-Emergency Medical Services, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and Calgary Emergency Management Agency will be co-hosting the 5th annual First Responder Suicide Awareness Conference in recognition of World Suicide Prevention Day.

This conference will feature engaging speakers bringing awareness to the difficult topic of suicide while focusing on hope, resiliency and knowledge in the journey for good mental health. Please join us for a day of wellness and collaboration as we continue to support healthy resiliency strategies both at work and at home.

When the “I” is taken out of illness and replacing it with “We”, together it contributes to empowering wellness for the individual and family.

Chief of Calgary Police Service Mark Neufeld

“This conference is not only about suicide awareness, it is about the mental health of everyone in the first responder family. This is about hope and sharing stories of resilience that show we are never alone on the journey to wellness.”

Chief of Calgary Fire Department Steve Dongworth

“The challenges around the subject of suicide and mental health can be numbing. I welcome this event and encourage attendance.”

Alberta Health Services Chief Paramedic Darren Sandbeck

“AHS EMS is working hard to address these complex issues, and we cannot do it alone. Awareness is an important key in developing stigma reduction.”

RCMP Chief Superintendent Southern Alberta District Bernadine Chapman

“Our collective efforts are having an impact in de-stigmatizing mental illness for first responders. However, we need to ensure that we all have support when needed and ensure our families are part of the process moving forward.”

Calgary Emergency Management Agency Chief Tom Sampson

“First responders are often involved early in the troubles of others, it is essential that we are also early in helping each other.”

Conference Details

Date & Time

September 19, 2019

8:00 – 16:30


Centre Street Church Central Campus

3900 2 St NE, Calgary Alberta


For our out of town guests the following hotel rates have been secured and are based on you making and paying for the booking directly with the hotel. Booking prices on line may vary depending on your personal discount affiliations:

Wingate by Wyndham

#57 Freeport Cres NE Calgary, AB

Executive Royal Hotel

2828 23rd St NE Calgary, AB


Joe Roberts

Key Note Speaker
Joe Roberts aka The Skidrow CEO is an expert on resiliency and change. Having experienced both catastrophic failure and extraordinary success Joe teaches how to overcome the roadblocks that get in the way of high performance…. Continue Reading

Jennifer Tejada

Chief of Police for the City of Emeryville
Chief Tejada served on the California Police Chiefs’ Association as the Chair of the Law and Legislative Committee for almost five years leading change within California Police Chief’s policy and positions….Continue Reading

Dr. Lauren Zanussi

Lauren Zanussi has lived in Calgary almost all of his life. He is a graduate of the University of Calgary and has degrees in Biochemistry and Medicine. He went on to be trained in Psychiatry and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada…Continue Reading

Carol Todd

The Amanda Todd Legacy
Carol Todd has impacted the world as an educator, parent and leader for social action in striving to talk about bullying, cyberbullying and mental health plus wellness….Continue Reading

Jon James

Sergeant with the Calgary Police
Sergeant Jon James is a 23 year member of the Calgary Police Service.  Jon has spent his career on the street in some form of uniform capacity and is currently the sergeant of a traffic response team in the traffic section…..Continue Reading

Stacey Ferland

Ms. Stacey Ferland is a Nationally Certified Traumatologist, Registered Psychotherapist and Master Practitioner in Clinical Counselling with the Canadian Professional Counsellors Association (CPCA)….Continue Reading

Cynthia Hamilton Urquhart

Retired RCMP officer
Cynthia brings a multiplicity of perspectives to the PTSD conversation. This is a result of her spouse’s PTSD diagnosis (also an RCMP officer) in June of 2012 and her own diagnosis in Jan of 2013….Continue Reading

David Lewry

Freedom’s Path Recovery Society
David has been a social worker since 1999. He began his career managing a homeless shelter for families, “Inn From the Cold” in Calgary. Once he sobered up, his career began taking a different pathway into addiction and mental illness…..Continue Reading

Health and Wellness Exhibition

Showcasing resources available to support the health and wellness of our first responders. If you would like to participate by setting up a booth, please contact

Contact Us

If you have questions regarding the conference, please email us
or call 403-428-8448