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Rod Rutberg - Nominated By Suicide Prevention Resource Centre

Rod Rutberg Caught in the ActRod Rutberg is a family man and recently retired from being the Safety Team Leader at the Grande Prairie Weyerhaeuser.  Early in his career Rod struggled with bouts of depression, he tried to hide his problems and fix the way he felt by using alcohol and eventually he became a serious alcoholic.  Luckily Rod realized he needed help and joined Alcoholics Anonymous and is now in recovery, but according to Rod many others are not as fortunate.  Looking to help others like himself, Rod helped found the ‘Men at Risk” program with the Suicide Prevention Resource Centre in 1999, and has been an integral part of the program since.

Volunteering as a ‘Men at Risk’ Facilitator, he and a SPRC staff member deliver presentations to various groups, like industrial safety meetings and services club. During these presentations Rod recounts his past experiences when he was struggling with his depression, when he decided to get help and the lessons he learned on his road to recovery.  The first hand experiences recounted during presentations have a deeper impact on those in attendance as some may see themselves or someone they know in similar circumstances and seek aid. He can’t stress enough how important mental health is when it comes to health and safety in the workplace.  “Mental health is just as serious a concern as physical health in any workplace environment” he states, “a worker who is struggling with anxiety or other mental issues are not focused on their work and can easily make a dangerous mistake, injuring themselves or others.”

Rod hopes that in sharing his story and spreading a message of hope he can help people who attend his presentations, or see the Tough Enough ‘To Talk About It’ videos that he appears in, to reach out for help if they see signs of mental illness in themselves or their coworkers and to know that they are not alone and that there are resources available to help save and change their lives.

Rod & Program Coordinators (left to right) Faris Atkinson, Barbara Campbell & Samantha Newhook

Looking forward to the future Rod is amazed that a program he helped to start continues to grow and plans to expand further beyond Grande Prairie and area into the rest of Alberta and parts of BC. Now after 17 years of dedication to the ‘Men at Risk’ program being their ‘senior’ volunteer Rod heads into his retirement proud of the work he has done and the help he has provided to others. 

For more information on the ‘Men at Risk’ program and the Suicide Prevention Resource Centre please visit https://www.sp-rc.ca and follow them on Facebook.

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