Past Events

The Fifth Annual Invisible Wounds Conference for First Responders

October 6th, 2020                 09:00 to 16:30

Holiday Inn Hotel and Conference Centre

601 Scottsdale Drive, Guelph, ON, N1G 3E7

Tickets $90  Eventbrite:

Includes registration fee, coffee on arrival, 2 breaks & lunch

  • This conference is exclusively for First Responders and Clinicians providing direct services to our First Responders

  • Keynote speakers share expertise, lived-experience, exemplify resiliency, illustrate post-traumatic growth, & provide hope

  • We bring First Responders together from across the province, facilitating education, networking and Peer Support

  • You’ll participate in breakout groups to identify risk mitigating strategies to promote and sustain mental wellness

Our Master of Ceremonies

Steven Goode, Deputy Chief - Guelph Fire Department


Introducing our Keynote Speakers

Dr. Sandra Jackson, Ph.D., C. Psych            

“Building Your Mental Fitness Plan”

This presentation encourages a proactive approach towards building your mental health.  Like physical health, we often make the most gains and change when we are in a good place. The goal of this presentation is to challenge the idea that mental health is only for the mentally ill. Mental health is a process and it often involves engaging with yourself, others and the world in a way that builds resilient skills, attitudes and practices.

Scott Hewlett, Brampton Fire Department

"Surviving, Living, or Thriving"

At any given point in our lives we are either surviving, living, or thriving. My talk will integrate my personal story with knowledge acquired over 13 years of peer support to discuss this concept and how we can best seek to return to thriving again and again in the face of trauma.

Kwesi Millington, Former RCMP Officer, BComm., Resiliency Expert, Professional Speaker & Certified Speech Coach

"Rise Into Your Resilience"

During this engaging keynote, you’ll discover how to overcome any adversity, build better mental health and develop unstoppable confidence through cultivating resilience.

Pat Swan, Constable, Waterloo Region Police Services

“My Personal Journey to Wellness”

Constable Pat Swan recounts his struggles with PTSD and depression during his career, reflecting on the stigma associated with recognizing the need for help, and seeking assistance from qualified people and organizations who care

Dr. Steven Jett, Ph.D., C. Psych., MScCP   

“Understanding Trauma and the Treatment of PTSD”

About three-quarters of people experience trauma in their lives. The initial impact of trauma on the brain and body will be discussed. We will then discuss the effects of unresolved trauma on thoughts, feelings, and relationships. A discussion of psychological treatment approaches for PTSD will close this presentation.

"Stomping Out Stigma"
A Mental Wellness Seminar
Held Saturday, March 30th, 2019 in Walkerton, ON
This grass roots seminar was hosted by individuals who have life experience with grief and loss, addiction in the family, bullying, recovery and resiliency

Natalie Nowkawalk is the loving mother of two boys, and hobbies which include photography and a variety of outdoor activities.


Natalie is a social worker with a private practice in Kincardine. She is passionate about helping people overcome mental health issues and volunteers in community events promoting mental wellness.

Natalie will provide insight on how alcohol and other drug dependency can impact relationships, describing codependency, and steps she has taken to stop the chaos.

Anthony Wilkenson is the founder and CEO of No Drama Fitness, a business created to introduce people to lifelong fitness in a safe, supportive, engaging and challenging atmosphere free of judgement and discrimination.

As a child and young man, Anthony experienced sexual, physical and emotional abuse, which led to addiction and withdrawal from social settings and relationships. Anthony will speak about the role of physical activity in his journey towards self-acceptance.

Shannon McGlynn is a wife, mom of five children, and Gramma to two grandsons, and works part-time at the Wingham Optometry Clinic.

Shannon’s presentation offers a unique, poignant and personal view on grief. As a facilitator for Bereaved Families of Ontario she volunteers her time to help others as they journey through their grief.

Special thanks to our sponsors for making this event a success!

Gold Sponsor:

Meridian Credit Union - Walkerton Branch

244 Durham Street, Box 308

Walkerton, ON, N0G 2V0    Tel: (519) 881-3321

Martin O'Connor (Branch Manager)

Community Sponsor:

Walkerton Foodland

125 Durham Street,

Walkerton, ON, N0G 2V0

(519) 881-1021

Jeff Goudling (Owner)

4th Annual
Invisible Wounds Conference
for First Responders

Wednesday, October 9, 2019
Best Western Plus Walkerton Hotel and Conference Centre
10 East Ridge Road
Walkerton, ON, NOG 2V0
The Invisible Wounds Conference for First Responders will provide opportunities to increase awareness of how to build resiliency skills to help deal with occupational stress injuries that are inherent in your profession. Speakers, most with lived experience, will share how Peer Support and learned coping skills assist in prevention and recovery.

This conference will assist First Responders interested in learning about and addressing relationships issues, anger, and mental health challenges, including, but not limited to, hypervigilance, anxiety, panic attacks, depression, PTSI, and PTSD.
Download the Event brochure for a list of Speakers and Presentations


An Evening of Appreciation
In recognition and appreciation of our First Responders
Held on April 27th, 2019
This event recognized and showed appreciation for our First Responders
with an evening of entertainment at Teeswater Town Hall.

Appreciation Evening Banner.jpg
Invisible Wounds Conference
for First Responders
This event took place
Wednesday, October 24th, 2018

Best Western PLUS Walkerton Hotel & Conference Centre

Walkerton, ON


Download the E-brochure

for this Conference

Invisible Wounds Conference for
Health  Care Professionals 
This event took place
Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

Best Western PLUS Walkerton Hotel & Conference Centre

Walkerton, ON

Download the E-brochure

for this Conference

Invisible Wounds Conference - 2017

This event took place Oct. 27, 2017

Best Western Governor’s Inn, Kincardine ON

Speakers from across the province discussed recovery from occupational stress injuries, substance abuse and addiction, and mental health challenges including post-traumatic stress injuries, and PTSD.  Individuals with lived experience described tools which enabled them to fight their demons, repair broken relationships, cope with returning to work, and deal effectively with ongoing workplace and life stressors.

Kincardine Fire Chief Kent Padfield, MC for the Invisible Wounds Conference 2017, was joined by speakers Randi-Mae Staford Leibold, Bill Burton, Natalie Nowkawalk, Bryan Stevens of Frontline Forward, Shaun Taylor and Jill Foster of #IGOTYOURBACK911, Doug Pflug recently retired Sergent from Guelph Police Services, and Fire Captain Jeff Balch at City of Barrie

(Photo by Barb McKay of the Kincardine Independent.  See articles by Barb McKay in our "Articles" section)

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