“It is your reaction to adversity, not the adversity itself, that determines how your life’s story will develop.”
-Dieter F. Uchtdorf


Throughout our lives, we are constantly confronted with obstacles we have to navigate. Life throws us challenges in our relationships, our work life and our families. At times, we can all struggle with navigating these obstacles. This years conference will welcome three individuals who have lived experience that speaks to the true testament of perseverance and overcoming adversity.

Our conference will give attendees the opportunity to listen to skilled presenters who are passionate about mental health and sharing their stories. Each presenter will give attendees an understanding of mental health advocacy, barriers and struggles associated with PTSD and trauma, resiliency, and redemption. Our goal is to provide community members with the opportunity to learn, understand, and gain a sense of hope.


JR LaRose

JR LaRose is a 9 year veteran of the CFL and a 2011 Grey Cup champion. A proud member of One Arrow First Nation, he is an accomplished speaker, who has been recognized and awarded for contributions to his community. JR’s path to success has been a long and hard fought journey that began in low income housing in Edmonton’s inner city. JR’s upbringing was significantly impacted by his Mother’s exposure to abuse suffered during her time at a Residential School. JR overcame an environment of poverty, drugs, and abuse. The sport of football was the opportunity that JR longed for.

His passion for football as a youth would turn out to be his profession as a young man. Now retired from football, JR is a gifted speaker, whose story of redemption is universal, breaking down racial and generational walls, bringing forth a sense of hope and humanity.

Tyler Smith

Tyler Smith has no memory of the worst day of his life, something the 24-year-old considers “a blessing in disguise.” On April 6, 2018, Tyler and his junior hockey team, the Humboldt Broncos, were on their way to a play-off game when a semi-truck struck their bus. He lost 16 of his teammates, staff members, and coaches, while he and 12 others survived.

After he physically recovered, Tyler returned to the Broncos. He made it back for ten games, and although his body felt fine, his mental health was starting to catch up with him. Tyler didn’t feel like himself and knew he needed to step away from the game and prioritize his mental recovery. He has made progress with his recovery, but the battle that Tyler is facing is an ongoing one – some days are better than others, and some will always be challenging, but he now feels better equipped to handle the difficult moments when they come.

Tyler Smith’s remarkable journey on Season 9 of the Amazing Race Canada was a testament to his competitive spirit. Alongside his partner Kat Kastner, #TyKat carried the Humboldt team with them navigating the challenges of the race with exceptional determination, clinching victory in four individual legs. From trauma to recovery and then champion, Tyler’s victory added layers of significance and emotion to their achievement, marking it as a win that extended far beyond the race itself. Their triumph harnessed the powers of resilience, healing and advocacy, honouring his fallen teammates and spreading awareness for honest conversations surrounding mental health,

Tyler has founded his mental health awareness clothing line called ‘Not Alone Co.’ Not Alone is all about helping facilitate meaningful conversations around mental health with the messaging that is presented on Not Alone’s variety of apparel. Not Alone donates portions of the proceeds to different charities and foundations across Canada including Jack.org. Tyler’s commitment dedicates his platforms to fostering awareness, healing, and purpose. Through sharing his own journey, he aims to assist others in navigating their paths to recovery. Tyler’s mission is deeply rooted in creating safe environments and encouraging open dialogues, focusing on preventative strategies for mental health, trauma, and recovery.

Ryan Straschnitzki

Ryan Straschnitzki‘s story is a testament to the power of resilience and determination in the face of adversity. Following the catastrophic Humboldt Broncos bus crash in 2018 that left him paraplegic, Ryan refused to let his physical limitations define his future. With a resilient spirit, he turned to sled hockey, setting an ambitious goal to win gold for Canada in para-ice hockey. This shift from a promising junior ice hockey career to becoming a paralympic athlete showcases his ability to adapt and strive for excellence despite challenges and daily commitment to his new life.

Beyond his athletic pursuits, Ryan has emerged as a formidable advocate for disability awareness and inclusivity. Through his initiative, Straz Strong, he aims to empower individuals with mental and physical disabilities, promoting adaptive sports, social awareness, and community engagement.  His commitment to making a difference extends beyond the ice rink; he is dedicated to fostering environments that are accessible and inclusive, advocating for public spaces that accommodate everyone’s needs. Ryan’s work illuminates the importance of a positive mindset, hard work, and community support in overcoming life’s obstacles.

He embodies the belief that the greatest disability in life is a space where one cannot express or grow based on personal or systematic barriers. Ryan’s focus is to encourage others to embrace challenges with courage and perseverance while working with one another to go through hard times with one another with the tools and support they need.

Panel Discussion

Stay tuned for panelist information.

Stay tuned for the finalized agenda.

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”
– Thomas Edison


Up to May 31 – Early Bird Pricing Individual – $225.00
Up to May 31 – Early Bird Pricing Table of 6 Reserved Seating – $1,350.00

June 1 to Sep 30 – Individual – $250.00
June 1 to Sep 30 – Table of 6 Reserved Seating – $1,500.00

Register Now!  This conference has sold out 2 years in a row.

Partners in Mental Health and Well-Being