CALGARY -- A Calgary man who works with some of the city's less fortunate is hoping other frontline workers will wear a lapel pin he designed to show their support for each other.

"I really wanted to be inclusive with this," said Colin Richardson, who works at the Calgary Drop-In Centre, leading a team of 24 on the night shift. "So a frontline worker, to me, is really putting their own priorities on hold to serve others during this time."

Richardson came up with a non-profit initiative called Beat the Burn with the goal of raising awareness about mental burnout among frontline workers and ending misconceptions and creating a safe space for conversation and growth.

Richardson first got the idea for Beat the Burn in September and launched it last month.

"I started to notice the toll that this pandemic was taking on both myself and my peers," said Richardson. "So I started to do some more research and started to think about how I could address this and make things better and build moral within my team."

With the help of his wife Alyssa they designed and financed a lapel pin and now more than 1,200 frontline workers are wearing them in four western provinces.

He'd like to see the initiative take off across the country.

"It symbolizes that we support each other during this time," said Richardson. "We support each other's mental health and it creates safe places to have conversations about mental health.

But Richardson's personal funds can only go so far so he's looking for local businesses and individuals that want to support front line workers and can help pay for these pins and sponsor them for teams in cities across Canada.

Richardson fears that if community heroes do not start to prioritize their own mental well-being, it will cause a spike in depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions after COVID has passed.

Learn more about the initiative online