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A Mental Health Mayday. The Laverne Friesen Story – Part 1 (Episode 301)

Today’s episode is Part 1 of my 2-part interview with Laverne Friesen, a first responder who is confronting the stigma of mental illness head-on as he shares his first-hand account of how work-related stress was leading him down a dark path toward suicide.  He shares intimate details of what that experience was like, how it impacted his family, and how treatment by a mental health professional saved his life.

Length: 53 minutes

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Laverne Friesen spent his career in a variety of first responder positions in Alberta, Canada. His experiences include healthcare, volunteer firefighter and a sworn law enforcement officer. This has exposed him to the best and worst of what people do to themselves and to others.

After his battle with mental illness, Laverne committed himself to starting conversations to destigmatize mental illness in first responders, which has led to the realization that the issues plaguing the emergency services apply to the public at large.

Laverne is trying to raise awareness around mental health in the workplace to encourage others to be observant of possible issues and to speak up.

His “human-first” approach to his profession and personal life has made him a resource to those who are struggling with their mental health and known as someone who is always available to someone in need.

Laverne is happily married with two young children who keep him busy and enhance his situational awareness skills every day.


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Guest Information

Laverne Friesen –

William Vavrek  Photographer & Freelance Photojournalist

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