A4: Panel: Post-traumatic Stress – Stories from First Responders
In this panel, hear from frontline healthcare workers as they tell their stories and explore how peer support programs have helped them heal from post traumatic stress and other occupational stress injuries. Exploring peer support programs, mental health supports at work and how to manage mental health, panelists will touch on their own lived experience and share supports that have worked for them. Working on the frontlines, these emergency and healthcare personnel have helped make mental health matter in communities and workplaces across Alberta. Now, they are here to share how your story may become someone else’s survival guide.
Meet your Panelists

Trudy is the Edmonton Support Group Leader and Provincial Support Group Coordinator for OSICAN. Since 2019, Trudy has facilitated hundreds of peer support group meetings for first responders dealing with the effects of psychological trauma and adversity. In addition, she has trained and supported numerous others in becoming peer support facilitators themselves. Prior to this work, Trudy was employed as a Corrections Officer and was stationed at the Edmonton Women's Institution from 2009 until an injury in 2017 gave her first hand experience on navigating the effects of trauma and subsequent recovery. When she's not working with OSICAN, Trudy enjoys spending time with her family, especially her two grandbabies, and her golden retrievers.

Sarah is the co-founder and Advocacy Director of Nurse 2 Nurse Peer Support [N2NPS], Canada’s first non-profit organization created to provide education and psychological support to nurses. After a decade of experience as a Registered Nurse in an Emergency Department, Sarah developed an Occupational Stress Injury resulting in PTSD, anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation. Due to the lack of resources provided to nurses, Sarah relied on her first responder spouse to access psychological resources, treatment, and support. The inequity of psychological education and support amongst emergency responder groups became the focus of Sarah’s Master of Nursing degree and inspired her to join forces to create a peer support network with other nurses who experienced OSIs. In 2022, N2NPS was awarded the Jordan James Pickell Mental Health Achievement Recognition Award by the Mood Disorder Society of Canada for contributing to mental health education and anti-stigma activities.

Burke is an Advanced Care Paramedic with Alberta Health Services EMS in the Edmonton Zone since 2009. He’s been an active member of the Edmonton zone peer support team for over seven years providing support to his peers. In addition to his work as a paramedic, Burke is also one of six EMS Peer Support Coordinators in the AHS EMS Provincial Peer Support Program whose role is to coordinate his local peer support team. He continues to do frontline shifts to stay current with the potential challenges facing frontline paramedics.

I started in the RCMP in 1992. I worked at several detachments in Saskatchewan before coming to Alberta where I have been stationed at Mayerthorpe, Morinville and Edmonton Headquarters. I am currently posted at headquarters and will be retiring in April 2023. I have been a Supervisor / Manager for 19 years of my career and during that time I have managed numerous people with PTSD and other mental health issues. In 2019 I was diagnosed with PTSD and have been working towards recovery since.

Meet your Moderator

Jason Trenholm is a retired 20-year Veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces. He served the majority of his career with the Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) in Edmonton, Alberta, participating in 3 operational tours. Since being medically released due to both physical and mental health injuries sustained overseas, he has transitioned back into civilian life, not without struggles, rather with a multitude of learning experiences. Jason has been the co-creator and is the Provincial Service Coordinator of OSI-CAN Alberta, a community-based peer support initiative, empowering veterans, first responders and frontline safety personnel to be self­ determined in finding better mental health through programs that support recovery, resiliency and growth.

Workplace mental health conference contact


Tansi — Cree | Oki — Blackfoot | ​Aba washded — Stoney (Nakota) | ​Ɂedlanet’e — Dene |  We respectfully acknowledge that we are on the traditional lands and territories of Indigenous people in Alberta. We want to recognize the significance of our relationships with the land and the peoples who call this ‘home.’ We commit to a reciprocal relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous worldviews that honour and respect ways of knowing and being.