In 1988, paramedic Vince Savoia attended to the homicide of Ms. Tema Conter. This event not only changed Savoia’s life, but also changed the lives of the Conter family. Dealing with feelings of guilt, anger and helplessness, Savoia began his long battle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Flashbacks, nightmares, isolation and hyper-vigilance were some of the symptoms that Savoia dealt with.
Hoping that his experience could help others, Savoia founded the Tema Conter Memorial Trust in 2001. Through research, education and training, and through the provision of peer and psychological support, this charity aims to help men and women working within Canada’s emergency service, public safety, military and correctional organizations.
Savoia is an expert in work-related mental health and wellness, as well as a peer support and crisis intervention specialist. As a former paramedic and emergency medical dispatcher, Savoia was a member of the first-ever Critical Incident Stress Management team at Toronto Paramedic Services. He has an extensive background in crisis intervention, peer support, training and education, and is a highly sought after public speaker.
A graduate of Royal Roads University and Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, Savoia has also taught in the School of Public Safety at Seneca College. He is a Certified Executive Coach, an alumni member of the York Region Critical Incident Stress Management Team, an advisor to Peer Support Accreditation Certification (Canada), a qualified Mental Health Works trainer with the Canadian Mental Health Association and a certified Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training instructor.