The OPP say that they have made significant strides in implementing their Mental Health Strategy, and have been working to better support officers. The strategy aims to support officers in the line of duty, as well as people in the community in regards to being mentally-well.

“Mental health has long been a priority for the OPP,” said OPP Sergeant Shelley Garr.

“Officer time spent on mental health calls for service is increasing. The number of calls for service is definitely increasing as well. The OPP is taking a comprehensive and integrated approach to these issues.”

Garr notes that officers can also face hardships in the line of duty, and the training has better prepared officers for their own struggles with mental health. Ontario's police association says one in six of their calls deals with mental health. This compares with one in 20 just a few years ago.

“Since the launch of the OPP’s strategy in 2015, we have delivered mental health awareness and resiliency training to over 8,000 OPP members. The aim is to ensure the OPP’s response to mental health is consistent and efficient.”

The OPP’s Mental Health Strategy was originally implemented in December, 2015. The Strategy has two distinct pillars, Supporting Our People and Supporting Our Communities. The first pillar will support the OPP workforce with the necessary education and training in mental health so they can serve to their full capacity.

The second pillar will focus on improving the response of the OPP workforce in crisis situations when they are interacting with people in the community experiencing a mental health crisis.

“The development of OPP’s comprehensive and integrated Mental Health Strategy is encouraging, but there’s still work to do to address the issue of police interactions with individuals experiencing a mental health crisis,” said Camille Quenneville, CEO of Canadian Mental Health Association Ontario.

CMHA Ontario encourages police and mental health agencies within communities to collaborate and find effective solutions for improving police interactions with people experiencing mental health conditions.

For more information:
Mental health important for citizens, police

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