First Responders Suicide Awareness Conference Calgary

Calgary 2024 - First Responders Suicide Awareness Conference

We’re excited to announce the return of our annual conference dedicated to supporting our first responders. This conference aims to raise awareness, provide resources, and foster a supportive community to address the critical issue of mental health within the first responder community.

Stay tuned for updates on dates, speakers, and registration information. 

October 11, 2023, Legacy Place Society, in conjunction with the Calgary Police Service, Calgary Fire Department, Alberta Health Services – Emergency Medical Services, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Calgary Emergency Management Agency and 911 will be co-hosting the Sixth Annual First Responders Suicide Awareness Conference in recognition of World Suicide Prevention Day.

This is an opportunity for all first responders from police, fire, EMS, 911, Canadian Armed Forces, corrections, probation, peace officers, sheriffs, fish and wild life, commercial vehicle enforcement, boarder services, animal and bylaw, security personnel, frontline medical staff, social workers, and also adult family members to come together in one place. By doing so, we can remember those we have lost to suicide, recognize many today are still suffering in silence and identify what we can do as a collective community to build resiliency and healthy workplaces through awareness and education.

First Responders are key stakeholders for our safe and healthy communities and often don’t recognize that they too also require support and care to ensure their health for a long career as well as life after their service.

Please join us to learn more about the topic of suicide, the most common concerns around mental health and addictions, how to build resiliency in today’s fast paced world and be a part of the network that is promoting understanding and compassion to reduce stigma and foster hope.



October 11th, 2023
8:00 hours – 16:30 hours
Centre Street Church Central Campus
(3900 2nd St NE Calgary AB)
Jay Dobyns
…My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels…

Jay Dobyns  (Keynote Speaker)

Jay’s presentation is designed to be well-rounded with a relatable message to new officers/agents, veterans of the trade, traditional investigators to unit specialists and supervisors/management. Jay acknowledges that this is not about his glory days or a 1-love-me show. He will discuss his mistakes and failures equally with achievement, hoping to help the audience avoid his errors and capitalize on his successes. Jay is a New York Times bestselling author with tow books, “No Angel – My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels” and “Catching Hell – a True Story of Abandonment and Betrayal”. Jay has been featured in over a dozen television and film programs related to his undercover career. No Angel is presently being adapted to a feature film. Jay will overwhelm our audience with a unique, one-of-a-kind presentation: college football All-American, shot through the chest after four days on the job as a federal agent, returning to participate in over 500 undercover operations including the first and only long-term undercover infiltration of the Hells Angels gang, and overcoming post-op death and violence threats (Jay’s home was destroyed by criminal arsonists after receiving a series of credible threats). you’ll need to come to the conference to hear more!

Dr Lauren Zanussi

Dr Lauren Zanussi has a lot to say about a lot of things.  He is funny, full of engaging conversation and has incredible insight and knowledge on subjects relating to mental wellness. As a member of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Calgary, he has presided in the offices of Medical Director of ER services, Section Chief for Inpatients and Consultation-Liaison psychiatry, and as Site Chief of the Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary.  Dr Zanussi is a conference favorite!  He’ll be with us once again on October 11th at the First Responders Suicide Awareness Conference in Calgary.



RHONDA KENT, MA Counselling, Registered Psychologist, RSW

Rhonda currently works as a full time Clinical Supervisor in a high suicide risk adolescent program in addition to working as a psychologist in her private practice, Regeneration Counselling and Consulting, Inc. and seeing all ages of clients. Rhonda has over 29 years of experience working in the areas of suicide, domestic violence, grief and loss, and trauma. She has been trained in several evidence-based trauma therapies such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART), Dialectic Behaviour Therapy (DBT) and Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (TF-CBT). Rhonda also completed her Level II Certification in the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT) through the Child Trauma Academy. Rhonda volunteered for 11 years from 2007-2018 on the Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) teams for the Calgary Fire Department and Calgary EMS and was the Clinical Director for most of those years. Legacy Place Society is looking forward to having Rhonda Kent share on the subject of HOPE at the First Responders Suicide Awareness Conference October 11, 2023 in Calgary Alberta.


SINEAD HOLSTEIN – Legacy Place Society is pleased to have Sinead Holstein share about the realities that Dispatchers and Call Takers have with psychological trauma’s. Sinead is a recently medically retired civilian member of the RCMP. She spent her 16-year career working as a Dispatcher and Call Taker in Alberta. Through the years, she witnessed the tragedy that surrounds police officers and the public alike, all while trying to manage her own mental health and undiagnosed PTSD. Sinead shares her story of navigating her career while being told she couldn’t experience trauma in her position, ultimately realizing that she was suffering in silence and needed help.



Legacy Place is thrilled to welcome Retired RCMP Supt. James Hardy to the First Responders Suicide Awareness Conference October 11, 2023 in Calgary AB as he speaks about his 40 years of career in policing, including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police then over to the Calgary Police Service. He will share major incidents that happened during his vast career that impacted him forever and how he managed to balance professionalism and pay attention to his emotions, including during his role as a Team Commander in the Mayerthorpe tragedy that took the lives of four RCMP officers. During his police career, James was privileged to serve in several law enforcement support positions that have included: Instructor at the Canadian Police College in Major Crime Investigator Techniques and Major Case Management Team Commanders Courses; Development of the Major Case Management Team Commander accreditation and Training program for the RCMP in the Prairie Region; Chair of the Alberta Association of Chief of Police Law Amendments Committee; Member of the Canadian Association of Chief of Police, Law Amendments Committee; Chair of the Canadian Association Chief of Police, Airport Security Committee; Incident Commander Calgary Floods (2013) and Member of Incident Management Team – Fort McMurray Wildfires (2016). We look forward to learning from James as he shares in maintaining professionalism in the face of tragedy and leading through crisis.


was born and raised in Alberta and grew up on an acreage outside of the small northern town of Beaverlodge. Desiring a career in policing he was able to join the Calgary Police Service in 2010 and has worked most of his career in a uniform capacity in the Northeast of Calgary. Steven was diagnosed with PTSD in 2021 and after a few dark years, he was able get healthy and come back stronger through Faith, Family and Friends. He has learned a few things along the way that he hopes can help other first responders and their loved ones struggling with mental health. Legacy Place is looking forward to Steven’s candid and thought provoking insights to what he’s learned through this very personal journey.