Blue Line

Occupational-specific retreat/treatment programs for first responders planned for Ontario

La Vigile, a Quebec-based, non-profit treatment program that is occupational specific for first responders and uniform personnel, is opening an Ontario therapy house/retreat called The Haven to fill the gaps in the current mental health resources available in the province.

August 31, 2018  By Staff

“Being a mental health clinician that specifically works with first responders, it’s become clear that there’s a need for occupational-specific treatment that’s available in a timely way, that’s of no cost or low cost,” says Melissa Petriglia, a psychotherapist and committee member for The Haven. “We were working together not too long ago to support a member who was in crisis. The challenge that we had was there was really no place for this person to go at that time, without having to go to a local hospital. Knowing the work that we do, it’s really not the best option. So we came across La Vigile. Unfortunately it was in Quebec and not available to people in Ontario but we connected with them and are so excited to bring this here.”

The Haven is a medically supervised treatment centre with a mission to provide occupational specific resources from outpatient services of psychologists, to treatment of comorbid mental health issues of addictions, anxiety, depression, PTSD, operational stress injury on an inpatient basis.  

“The Haven is going to save lives,” says Michelle Vincent, a York Regional Police officer and fellow committee member for The Haven. “As first responders, we come to the aid of others. Seeking help for ourselves goes against what we are trained to do. Our goal at The Haven is to facilitate the process in both obtaining and delivering occupational-specific programming.”

On its website, La Vigile states it is a home of peace for officers, military or emergency respondents and members of their immediate family or anyone else in need.


Since opening in 2003, La Vigile says it has helped more than 2,500 people with various issues related to addiction, depression, post-trauma, anxiety, bereavement, anger, conjugal.

The organization testifies that of the 632 people admitted between 2013 and 2015, 56 per cent had suicidal distress upon admission, 32 per cent were admitted for depression, 36 per cent were admitted for addiction and 19 per cent were admitted for respite.

The Haven project is at the beginning stages of implementation and the organizing committee is currently seeking support for the need for this resource to present for government funding as well as other funding opportunities. Click here to leave your electronic signature and spread the word.

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