Our facilitators work together to prepare and host our support group meetings and/or conduct workshops/training for professionals and the general public. Our facilitators have extensive training in bereavement and support group facilitation. Many carry with them personal experiences of traumatic loss. Others have studied extensively in related fields that allows them to provide a trauma informed and compassionate perspective to their work.
John Dubé/Clinical Supervisor is a registered social worker and a registered clinical counsellor in the province of British Columbia. He began his work in the area of suicide and bereavement in 1985 responding to family and community needs to a suicide, homicide or traumatic death.
His primary counselling area is working with clients who are bereaved due to a suicide, homicide or traumatic death. He works with individuals by encouraging them to find the answers within and utilize their own resources for change and to heal. He believes in providing a respectful and safe place that supports clients to do self-reflective work and discover new ways of coping, integrating the painful event while navigating their world.
Over the past 25 years, John has conducted numerous workshops and trainings to professionals (therapists, counselors, teachers, social workers, victim services personnel, nurses and hospice staff) on topics such as: Grief - The Basics; Complex Bereavement Issues; Bereavement due to Suicide, Homicide and Multiple Loss; Suicide Prevention/Intervention Strategies; Professional Self-care, Communication, and Program Evaluation and Outcomes.
John is currently the Program Manager and Clinical Supervisor of Family Preservation and Family Support programs with Family Services of the North Shore, programs that work closely with MCFD concerning families struggling with addictions, mental health and domestic violence. He is also an adjunct instructor at Adler University teaching graduate level Ethics in Counselling Psychology.
Dr. Alana Abramson began her work in human services with the Crisis Centre of BC and went on to be involved in the field of restorative justice as a researcher, practitioner, and trainer since 1999. She has extensive experience facilitating difficult conversations around various topics including suicide, violence, and trauma in community, prison, and school contexts. In 2017, Alana was the recipient of the Restorative Justice Award from the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General. Alana is currently a full-time Criminology Instructor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Coordinator and Facilitator for the Alternatives to Violence Project, Facilitator for BC Bereavement Society, Board Member for the BC Association of Restorative Justice, and trainer with Achieve/Crisis & Trauma Resource Institute.
Pam Bilusack is a counselling student at Kelowna College of Professional Counselling’s Applied Psychology and Counselling diploma program. It was through co-facilitating the Suicide Loss Grief Support Group with BCBH that Pam decided to pursue a counselling education, with a goal to work with people experiencing grief and suicide loss. After losing her brother to suicide in 2007, she became an advocate for mental illness awareness and suicide prevention. Pam has been a volunteer and employee of the non-profit sector spanning 15 years, including being a Board Member and Bereavement Advisory Committee Member with the Crisis Centre of BC.
Jas Cheema delved into end of life care over 15 years ago. She has companioned bereaved families one-on-one, facilitated grief support groups, and has served on various end-of-life committees and consultations. In addition she has helped develop culturally sensitive education material for families in Hospice/Palliative Care. Currently she is working with Surrey Hospice Society to provide culturally sensitive bereavement services to the South Asian community. Jas’s work is all about equity and fostering meaningful relations. Her “Language of Life” program weaves yoga and meditation with course work that enables participants to build healthy thought patterns and a strong emotional foundation which in turn supports a meaningful and fulfilling life. Jas has a passion for connecting with people in an honest and genuine manner. It is through this connection that she helps her bereaved clients arrive at a place of acceptance and resolution.
Debra has a M Ed degree in Counselling Psychology and is a Registered Clinical Counsellor with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors. Her over 35 years of professional experience in Alberta and BC has included direct counselling services for individuals and groups, post-secondary teaching, senior organizational and clinical management in not-for-profit and commercial environments. Her passion is helping others become their best selves regardless of challenges and situations. Her clinical expertise includes grief and loss, depression, anxiety, conflict management, and communication strategies. Debra has had over 20 years’ volunteer experience in palliative/hospice care. Currently, she volunteers at Canuck Place Children’s Hospice where she helps out in the kitchen with meal-prep, dish-washing and cookie-baking!
Jessica Lowe is a group facilitator for the Homicide Grief and Suicide Grief support groups. She has first-hand knowledge and experience with homicide loss with the death of her sister, as well as the traumatic deaths of her other two siblings from cancer and substance use. Jessica brings understanding and compassion to her facilitation. After a career in Marketing, she returned to school for a Social Services Worker Certification from Langara College and is now the BCBH Executive Director.
Brad Martin is a Registered Therapeutic Counsellor registered with the Association of Cooperative Counselling Therapists (BC) and the Association of Counselling Therapists of Alberta. He graduated from the Clearmind International Training Institute in 2017 with a diploma in Transpersonal Therapeutic Counselling and has been running a Counselling/Consulting practise since early 2018.
Brad enjoyed a 25-year career with the Calgary Police Service in many different roles and assists the BCBH with his broad experience from the policing world and his therapeutic understanding of the process of sadness and grief.
Kaylie Maughan currently manages a consultancy business that helps train and build restorative wholistic frameworks for businesses, charities, schools, and families to hold space for difficult conversations on trauma, harm and conflict that focus on healing, needs, and growth. After graduating from Simon Fraser University, with degrees in Criminology and Psychology. Kaylie began her career focused on supporting youth and families in the forensic psychiatric field as a mental health and addictions outreach worker, and youth program coordinator with a number of community and social services organizations focused on prevention and outreach. These pathways led to her discovery and passion for circle and group-led restorative processes as a method for dialogue, understanding, connection, transformation, and healing even in the most difficult and traumatic circumstances. Focusing on these processes led to further training, certification and work in restorative justice facilitation, mediation and community dialogue in a number of professional and police based settings where she witnessed powerful outcomes and has been honoured to support and walk alongside others on their journey for the past 13 years. Kaylie joined BCBH in 2021 and brings with her an emphasis on inclusive practices and compassion.
Jude Platzer and her husband Ben founded The Josh Platzer Society for Teen Suicide Prevention and Awareness in 2002 following the tragic suicide death of her 15 year old son Josh in 1999.The Society has been instrumental in promoting education and reducing stigma around the topic of teen suicide through it’s many school presentations and poster campaigns across BC. Jude has worked closely with the BC Crisis Centre and has had Society volunteers attend the ASIST training. For the last 12 years Jude has been an active facilitator with Lower Mainland Grief Recovery Society. Jude hails from the UK and has lived in Canada since 1975. She is a retired RN.
Jessica Wolf Ortiz is a registered clinical counsellor with the BC Clinical Counselling Association and has a Master degree in Family Therapy. She has devoted part of her 20 year clinical work to grief therapy and suicide bereavement. She wrote a book about suicide aftermath called “Overcoming Suicide Bereavement: The experience of those that stay” which is available in Spanish for now.
Leita (she/her) is an organizer, advocate and therapist who supports folks as they navigate life-altering traumas. She is honoured to work with many different communities, families and individuals as they navigate their healing journeys. She is committed to the de-professionalization of therapy; prioritizing safety, transparency and relatability. Her practice focuses on the complexity of violence, systemic oppression, accountability, transformation and healing. She comes to this work with a deep commitment to radical compassion, subverting systems and the belief that no one is disposable.