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Brandon first responders rally for mental health support
The Brandon Sun - 9/14/2021
In recognition of the 20th anniversary of 9/11, Project Resilience 911 held a 21-kilometre fundraiser in support of mental health for first responders that started at Brandon Police Service headquarters on Saturday.
Firefighters, police officers, corrections officers, emergency room nurses, paramedics, 911 operators and a few civilians trekked the 21-kilometre route by bike or foot.
Saturday’s event marked the second time the group has held a fundraiser to support the mental health of first responders and front-line workers.
Formerly the Brandon Police Service Employee Wellness Team, Project Resilience 911 is an umbrella organization that encompasses the groups representing first responders and front-line workers in southern Manitoba and their families, its Facebook page said.
Const. Amanda Conway, the chairperson of the organization, said there were 38 registrations this year. Individual registration was $100 or $350 per team. The money goes towards education on mental health, support and events the group organizes, Conway said.
A former social worker, Conway has been extensively involved in mental health support at BPS through the Brandon Police Service Employee Wellness Team.
“Our focus is promoting mental health for first responders,” Conway said. “We work on the stigma surrounding mental health, and recognize there’s a need for training.”
Conway said funds from Saturday’s event will go towards training within organizations so they have peer-support systems in place.
“Our main goal is to promote mental wellness for first responders and the challenges we face,” she said.
“About 28 per cent of first responders attempt suicide.”
The Project Resilience 911 Facebook group said the organization is still in the early stages of development.
Saturday’s event raised roughly $2,000, according to Conway.