SUDBURY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2016 - Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS) is pleased to welcome former NHL goal-tender Clint Malarchuk as keynote speaker for its annual Partners in Prevention Northeastern health and safety conference. Though he played for 11 seasons in the NHL, Malarchuk's name is forever linked to an incident in 1989 when his throat was slashed by a skate while tending goal for the Buffalo Sabres. That workplace accident nearly took his life.
Focusing on the unique safety needs of local businesses, Partners in Prevention (PIP) addresses topics relevant to workplaces in Northeastern Ontario. With mental health conditions accounting for 30% of short- and long-term disability claims that cost the economy $51 billion annually, Malarchuk brings valuable insight into the need to reduce stigma around mental health issues.
"Mental health is an essential aspect of overall workplace health and safety. Yet, few organizations are properly equipped to manage it," says Lynn Brownell, Acting President & CEO, WSPS. "The first step to creating psychologically healthy workplaces is creating awareness so we are delighted that Clint has chosen to share his inspirational story of recovery with our delegates."
Malarchuk will share two keynote addresses. In his first session, "The Crazy Game: How I Survived in the Crease and Beyond" Malarchuk focuses on his brave and very personal journey to overcome the struggles of mental illness and addiction - afflictions directly related to the injury that forever changed his life.
"I want to inspire hope," says Malarchuk. "With every talk I do, I want people to walk away feeling motivated and inspired to be healthy. So many people with mental health issues suffer alone, in silence. But it doesn’t have to be that way. They need to understand they are not alone and they can get well."
In the afternoon, Malarchuk delves deeper into post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the stigma that often surrounds the illness. In some workplaces, workers can be put in dangerous situations. While military personnel, first responders, health-care professionals, and other high hazard workers experience higher rates of PTSD than other professions, it can happen to anyone. Malarchuk will use his own personal experience to demonstrate that with support, people can recover from PTSD and the effects of trauma.
"When that accident happened - I thought I was going to die. That was the onset of PTSD. Totally unaware, I went back to work as soon I could and, unfortunately, was not offered counseling," he says. "I didn’t think anything of it but my PTSD went undiagnosed for 19 years. And that wreaked havoc on my life. We can all understand physical pain - but emotional and mental struggles can be hard to understand," he adds. "My job now is to make sure people know how dangerous it can be to ignore the mental trauma."
While the conference has a prominent mental health stream, including on-site therapy dogs from Magical Paws Pet Therapy and an Interactive Health Fair, educational sessions will cover all aspects of workplace health and safety. Delegates will have access to a trade show featuring a wide range of health and safety-related products, programs and services to improve both mental and physical wellbeing.
The Partners in Prevention Northeastern Ontario 2016 conference will take place at the Steelworkers’ Union Hall and Conference Centre, 66 Brady Street, Sudbury, Ontario, on September 22, 2016. Those interested in registration for the conference may visit http://www.partnersinpreventionconference.com/Northeastern or call WSPS Customer Care at 1-877-494-WSPS (9777).
About Workplace Safety & Prevention Services
Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS) is a leader in providing impactful risk management solutions that drive lasting business success for our customers. WSPS offers unparalleled health & safety expertise, insight and solutions for creating healthy work environments where employees thrive and businesses prosper.
A dynamic $43-million organization servicing 162,000 member firms, WSPS is primarily focused on the agricultural, industrial/manufacturing and service sectors. A key player in the Ontario occupational health & safety system, WSPS brings together community and business leaders to influence positive change to create a safer and more profitable Ontario.