Brad McKay, Retired Staff Sergeant
I am a Canadian Municipal Staff Sergeant who retired in 2015 after 33 years of service with York Regional Police, north of Toronto. After a police involved shooting in 1984, I began lecturing to new recruits to help them prepare for their career ahead. This evolved into a volunteer initiative on the sidelines to his successful career primarily as a criminal investigator.
Overview And Experience
Honored to be part of Badge of Life Canada
I live in Aurora and am the proud father of 2 daughters, one being a new family physician who, as a result of her upbringing, is developing a trauma informed approach to family medicine in her practice in order to best support first responder and other families in the community. I recently became a grandfather.
In 1989 I co-created a trauma team for my police organization and in 1996 transitioned it into a regional Critical Incident Stress management team serving all first responders in my community and beyond. After the 9-11 tragedy in New York, I lead members of my team and mental health professionals to support NYPD members there who were suffering.
Before retiring, I enhanced the wellness unit and created an in house Peer Support Team for my organization.
In my retirement, I joined with the beloved Canadian Grandfather of Peer Support Syd Gravel and together we co-author publications that help organizations best support their members. We provide valuable advice and investigate challenging claims where organizational toxicity is alleged to exist. Together we deliver on a curriculum that Syd built after the Mental Health Commission of Canada published their guidelines on peer support in 2013. I am a co-lead with the Peer and Trauma Support Services section at Mood Disorders Society of Canada. I do clinically supervised peer support at the Trauma Centre in Sharon, Ontario.
In 2019, I was honoured to be invited to the UK by the amazing Oscar Kilo organization where I and Syd shared our knowledge of peer support and learned of the great work being done in the UK to support police. More recently, I have entered into a contract with the Police Service of Northern Ireland to provide Peer Support Training and consulting as part of their Movember grant. I am also a member of the Peer Support Advisory team based out of the University of Regina and McMaster University. My success is a result of the kindness and collaboration shared by other organizations and I believe strongly that working together and sharing best practices is of benefit to all. I also believe that the best peer support and wellness systems are those that are created by the members who directly benefit. Everyone who is a stakeholder needs a voice and leaders who realise this and support the good work will soon see the benefits.