Upcoming Events

Due to Covid-19 concerns the 5th Annual Conference will now be held on October 6th, 2020. We wish to greatly thank all First Responders for their tireless efforts during this unprecedented time!

The Fifth Annual Invisible Wounds Conference for First Responders

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

John McRae Memorial Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 234

57 Watson Pkwy South, Guelph, ON, N1L 0H8

Tickets $90  Eventbrite: https://firstrespondersconferencemay2020.eventbrite.ca

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, exemplifying resiliency

  • Provide hope, illustrations of post-traumatic growth

  • Bring First Responders together from across the province to facilitate networking and Peer Support

  • Attendees 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, Fire Chief - Guelph Eramosa Volunteer Fire


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.

Captain Scott Hewlett, Brampton Fire   

"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.

Detective Beth Milliard, York Regional Police, PhD Candidate

“Utilization and Impact of Peer Support Programs on Police Officers’ Mental Health”

Research suggests that peer support is more than just a “conversation.” Stressors for police officers are complicated but organizational stressors seem to the most prevalent.  Lack of support (personal or professional) is detrimental for police officers.  Although peer support is effective, there needs to be clear standards for First Responders, especially in police organizations.

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.

Afternoon Workshop:  Solution-based breakout groups will be co-facilitated by Keynote Speakers and Volunteers

         Doug Sharp                  George Hebblethwaite            Dave McLennan, Founder     K. Bruce MacDonald

Captain, Kitchener Fire     Deputy Chief, Hanover Police      Boots on the Ground             Piper, Logistics


Special  thanks to those who volunteered to rejoin us this year, showing ongoing support

of the Invisible Wounds Conference for First Responders.


Contact:  Deborah MacDonald B.A., R.P.N.   dsmacd77@gmail.com  519-357-0752

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