ORILLIA – Mental Health has long been a priority for the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP). This week marks the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Mental Health Week with communities across the country supporting mental health initiatives. The OPP is proud to provide ongoing support to its people and communities with its Mental Health Strategy: Our People, Our Communities.
Mental health and wellness go hand in hand, a premise that underlies the OPP Mental Health Strategy. The strategy has two related but distinct components – Supporting Our People: Healthy Workforce and Supporting Our Communities: Police Interactions with People with Mental Health Issues. The OPP has made considerable progress since launching the strategy in December 2015.
“Mental health is an important issue, for everyone. The goal of the strategy is to improve the response to the mental health needs of our people and the individuals in the communities we serve,” Commissioner Vince Hawkes said.
Some of the notable achievements over the last two years in Supporting Our People include delivering mental health awareness and resiliency training to more than 8,000 OPP members, expanded formal training to the Auxiliary Program and increased access to the OPP Critical Incident Stress Response Team/Peer Support Program.
Continued progress was made in the established priorities for action during the second year of implementation of Supporting Our Communities. Achievements include increased referrals to community support services, tools to aid police in communicating more effectively with medical professionals and people experiencing a mental health crisis, over 1,200 OPP members have completed Crisis Intervention Training and continued training for OPP members in de-escalation techniques.
“Members across the organization continue to embrace this evolving strategy,” Commissioner Hawkes said. “We have made significant achievements, but recognize there will always be more work to be done. I am proud of all that has been accomplished in just over two years in support of the important issue of mental health.”