7th Annual
‘Helping the Helpers’

Awareness and Education Day For Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Our 7th Annual Awareness and Education Day for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder will be on October 24th, 2019, at St. Francis Xavier University Schwartz Auditorium. With presentations from frontline professionals, clinicians and family members.


‘Coping and Dealing with PTSD for Frontline Professionals and Families’

This is a great information sharing day from front line professionals sharing their lived experience of living with PTSD and front line professionals providing clinical expertise.


We’re sold out for the 7th Annual ‘Helping the Helpers’ Awareness and Education Day For Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder event!

If you would like to be added to a waitlist for tickets, please contact helpingthehelpersns@gmail.com.

The deadline for refunds is September 1st, 2020 and the deadline for registration is October 12th, 2020. Meal tickets will be available through Morrison Hall, StFX University as previous years

Speaker Line Up 2020 Conference

Silent Auction on site (accepting cash / cheque only)

Lunch: On your own or meal tickets available for purchase at StFX Morrison Hall

Mental Health and Wellness Vendors on site

Guest Speakers

Madison MacDonald

We are blessed to have Maddie MacDonald as one presenters this year at our 7th Annual Helping the Helpers Awareness and Education Day on October 24, 2020 at the Schwartz Auditorium St. FX University.

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She is currently attending her first year at StFX enrolled in BA with Major in Psychology and is considering Forensic Psychology. She has long been a mental health advocate and speaks openly and effortlessly with anyone that wants to discuss mental health issues with the focus of breaking stigma and ‘normalizing the conversations’.

We are extremely honored and feel privileged to introduce her and her short video she did along with Jon Brown with the hope and intention to share a snippet of what life was like for her as a child of a First Responder injured with PTSD .

John Brix

We are privileged to have John as one our presenters at this years 7th annual Helping the Helpers awareness and education day to be held on October 24th, 2020 at the Schwartz Auditorium StFX University.

International Keynote Speaker and Leadership and Emotional Intelligence!

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The human mind is divided into two basic aspects, the conscious and subconscious mind. Understanding how these two aspects to the human psyche work with each other is the key to all areas of your success and Emotional Intelligence. You will be able to communicate messages more efficiently, improve your long term memory recall and increase your success potential.

Stress Management and Adrenal Fatigue Repair

The participants will be educated on effects of long term stress and how to control their rumination mind. The tools provided will ease the stress levels of the participants, naturally recover from adrenal fatigue and increase their personal health. The tools received will help keep their mind on task, producing a higher level of success and a lower stress in their day to day life.

Personal Excellence

Did you know we can subconsciously sabotage our personal success? This subconscious act is what separates excellence from the average, elite from the mediocre and the professional from the novice. Through tools and philosophies you will learn how to reprogram your subconscious mind to fully experience the high level of success we are all capable of.

Before getting into the oil and gas industry I was a police officer for a major metropolitan city for over 13 years. During that time I gained training and instructor certification from the FBI and various other institutions around North America. Through direct experience and formal training, I created a very innovative and progressive set of instructional philosophies which increases personal success, happiness and accelerated my career.I have now successfully customized these philosophies to the oil and gas, safety, construction Industry, various professional athletic groups and emergency services. Presenting to over 7000 people in 2017 as a keynote speaker across Canada, the United States and South America.

Ward Redwood

We are priviledge to have Ward (Retired Fire Captain) as one of our guest presenters this year at our 7th annual Helping the Helpers awareness and education day to be held this year on October 24th, 2020 at the Schwartz Auditoruim StFX Universtiy.

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Ward started his career as a Full-Time Career Firefighter in October of 1989 for the City of Grande Prairie. In a career spanning 30+ years I responded to many trauma calls but there was one that stuck with me. Working a night shift and on the early morning hours of my 51st birthday I responded to a call that would stick with me and eventually cause PTSD symptoms that would take me off work. Before this workplace injury took me off work, I was a very strong individual who tackled many of life’s hurdles with ease. With this hurdle I felt that I was in a fight for my life and I fought harder than I ever had before. After learning all I could about my injury and putting in a lot of hard work, participating in 2 kinds of therapy, I felt way more like my old self again. I know that I have won the battle with PTSD and I love to share my success story!!

Ward has retired from the Grande Prairie Fire Department in November of 2019 at the rank of Fire Captain.


Jen Aarnamo

We are thrilled to have Jen as one our guest presenters at our 7th annual Helping the Helpers awareness and education day this year on October 24th at the Schwartz Auditorium St. FX University.

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In 2015, after 15 years as a Correctional Officer and a particularly stressful year at work, Jen Aarnamo decided it was time to start making some lifestyle changes. She recognized in herself the signs and symptoms of PTSD; unreasonable and unexpected “Fight or Flight” triggers outside of work, extreme irritability and anger, insomnia and inability to feel or express emotions. She felt broken.

At the suggestion of a friend she applied to Yoga North International Soma Yoga Institute in Duluth, MN. She is now a Yoga Therapist working with First Responders teaching tools for wellness through Stress Resiliency Training.

She founded Mind Body Whole Wellness; a company geared to teach freedom through Connection & Self Care and retired from Corrections in 2018.

Jason Israel

We are honoured to have Jason as one of our guest presenters this year at our 7th Annually Helping the Helpers awareness and education day to take place on October 24th at the Schwartz Auditorium St. FX University.

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Retired Sgt Jason Israel was born and raised in Saint John, NB. At the age of 19, he enlisted as an infanteer with our Canadian Armed Forces. Jason served his country for 16 years, which included three combat missions to Afghanistan.

Upon his release from the military, Jason competed at the Toronto Invictus Games and, in 2018, won two gold medals in track events at the Warrior Games. Currently, Jason coaches for Soldier On and resides in Burton, NB with his wife, Amanda, and their three children, Jakob, Grace, and Kaleb.

Joe Taplin

We are honoured and grateful to have Joe as one of our guest presenters at our 7th Annual Helping the Helpers Awareness and Education Day this year on October 24th at the Schwartz Auditorium St. FX University.

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Sgt. Joe Taplin joined the RCMP April 30, 1990 and has 30 years’ experience. Sgt. Taplin was diagnosed five years ago with severe cumulative PTSD combined with depression and an anxiety disorder but is believed he has suffered with this since his first posting in northern Alberta. He also has been posted to an isolated Alberta posting and Nova Scotia within his career. He is currently the NCO i/c of Cole Harbour office and Community Policing for Halifax District.

The one thing training forgot to tell us is that some of us are going to Suffer in Silence with nightmares, images planted in my head that haunt us daily. Kids that I tried to help – the senseless sexual assaults against them, their innocence taken away and not being able to do a damn thing to help them, except comfort them with words while thinking about my own three young daughters and worrying about them as well. The trauma of a family of 7 dying in a single car accident and knowing them, the murders, the sudden deaths, the assault causing bodily harms, the motor vehicle accidents, the suicides, the fatal electrocutions, fire victims, plane crashes and I wonder why I started to self-destruct years ago.

Yes, that was Joe Taplin, suffering in silence for more than 25 years until I had a break down and finally had to seek help on my own. For over 25 years I have fooled myself, my family my co-workers by suffering in silence. It took me 25 years to realize that I had a work place injury called PTSD…wow me, the face of the RCMP (media spokesperson) for 7 years. I have been presented with National awards, IODE policemen of the Year, Two Jubilee medals for my community work, a great community person who volunteered a lot in my past, a good police office but suffering inside for years while working with the RCMP with no real help for us or me.

Sgt. Taplin has taken his Suffer in Silence ideal and has been featured on CBC NS, the Rick Howe Show and CTV Your Morning with Ben Mulroney. “I truly believe we have to get rid of the stigma of mental health and not suffer in silence but it takes a culture shift to make this happen”. “We have lost to many brother and sisters to suicide and it has to stop, we need to step up and talk and reach out for help”.

Constable Brad Cameron & Sara Jane Cameron

We are thrilled and honoured to have Constable Brad Cameron and his wife Sara Jane to be part of our first ever Spouses Discussion panel at our 7th Annual Awareness and Education Day, October 24th, 2020.

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They will be sharing the stage with two other couples who will be announced soon. This is an exciting initiative incorporated into our agenda this year based on feedback from previous years. This sharing of lived experiences as couples through their family’s journey through OSI and PTSD injuries will provide valuable information for other First Responders and allied Frontline Professionals and their families.

Marybeth Fleming

We are honoured to have Marybeth as one of our guest presenters this year at our 7th Annual Helping the Helpers Awareness and Education Day to be held this year on October 24th 2020 at St. FX University Schwartz Auditorium.

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Marybeth comes to us with over 25 years of direct clinical experience and leadership. Marybeth has worked in the public and private sector and more recently Marybeth has worked as a case manager with the WCB, on the Special Adjudication team focusing on those workers with a traumatic injury and / or a concussion. She is now the owner and operator of OT Health Inc.

Marybeth’s career has taken her to many workplaces, clinics, community settings where the goal of treatment was “Returning to Life’s Activities”. While supporting her clients to return to Life ‘s activities like hobbies, church, getting groceries and work for example, Marybeth has assisted first responders to navigate their return to Life’s activities successfully. Her experience with first responders has enabled her to participate as an integral team member along side psychologists and other health professionals supporting in vivo exposure experiences. Successfully supporting clients during their reintegration into productive and functional living, including safe and sustainable work following trauma, was and continues to be the most exceptionally rewarding time of her career. Not only has Marybeth experienced the work of trauma as a professional, she also has first had experienced with immediate family members, friends and colleagues.



This year’s event will be held at St. Francis Xavier University Schwartz Auditorium.

StFX Schwartz Auditorium
3090 Martha Drive
Antigonish, Nova Scotia
B2G 2W5


Below are photos from the 6th Annual Helping the Helpers that was held on October 26th, 2019 at St. FX University Schwartz Auditorium.

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