Jef has been a firefighter in West Vancouver 16 of the last 22 years. With a background as a pastor, he started serving the fire service in a chaplaincy role. This has grown to serving Vancouver and Surrey in an official chaplain capacity, along with co-chairing the BC Professional Firefighters Association’s (BCPFFA) Fallen Firefighter Memorial Biennial Event.
This chaplaincy role dovetails well with his work in the mental health realm. Whether he’s serving his own West Vancouver members as CISM team co-ordinator, teaching CMHA’s Resilient Minds to instructors and firefighters throughout the province, or serving on the BCPFFA mental health taskforce, it’s fair to say Jef has a strong desire to see firefighters’ mental health picture improve. He believes improving mental health and reducing its stigma must be the highest priority of our generation’s fire service leaders.
Session 4 - Silent struggles: A look at stigma and co-morbidities in the first responder community