Published on March 26, 2024

St. Albert Fire Services Member Recognized as Mental Health Champion

The City of St. Albert is proud to share the news that Vince Pashko, a valued member of St. Albert Fire Services, has been recognized as a Champion of Mental Health from the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment (CIPSRT).

CIPSRT, an organization based at the University of Regina, serves as a hub for strategic public safety wellness research and analysis. In its third year, the Champions of Mental Health awards program received over 200 nominations from various public safety sectors across Canada, with Vince one of 20 recipients of the recognition in 2023.

Since starting with the City in 2009 as an Advanced Care Paramedic and Firefighter, Vince has demonstrated a keen understanding of the stressors related to the profession and the importance of building resilience and self-care.

In 2017, Vince was chosen by his peers to be part of the Fire Services Peer Support program, where he trained in crisis intervention and lending support to those in need. He also underwent training from the Edmonton Police Services' (EPS) Reintegration program, which led him to spearhead St. Albert’s own Fire Services Reintegration Team. This team collaborates with psychologists and therapists to help support members return to work following physical or psychological injuries.

Fast forward to June 2023, Vince took on a brand-new role as Mental Health Coordinator, marking a huge milestone in his career. Since then, the department has witnessed a substantial increase in mental health support provided to its members, reflecting his dedication to his colleagues' well-being.

“I’ve encountered the misconception that admitting struggles denotes weakness in an industry that demands strength; however, acknowledging our challenges is a testament to our self-awareness and willingness to seek support,” Vince states. “Just as we would not overlook a physical injury, mental health deserves the same attention. Authentic conversations in the workplace over time contribute significantly to reducing stigma.”

Recently, he's been a driving force behind initiatives like the Before Occupational Stress program and pushing for even more support for existing member support programs such as reintegration, peer support, peer fitness and other wellness fitness initiatives.

At the heart of Vince’s work is busting the myths around mental health within the public safety sector and emphasizing the importance of collaborative efforts in promoting health and well-being.

“I am fortunate to be part of a team where health and well-being are viewed as collective responsibilities,” he says. “Mental health issues don't discriminate, and in our line of work, they affect all of us. That's why it's crucial to team up with experts and tackle these challenges head-on.”

The City extends a heartfelt congratulations to Vince on his recognition as a Champion of Mental Health, highlighting our pride in employees like him who continually emphasize the City's commitment to prioritizing mental health support for those responders who keep our community safe day in and day out.

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Last edited: March 27, 2024