First year of plan sees significant progress
ORILLIA – The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) has made significant strides in the first year of implementing the OPP Mental Health Strategy: Our People, Our Communities, it said today to mark the start of the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Mental Health Week.
The strategy, released in December 2015, is a comprehensive and integrated approach to improving the response to the mental health needs of our people and the individuals in the communities we serve.
The OPP Mental Health 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 goal of the strategy is to mitigate risk, to reduce harm and victimization and to improve outcomes for people with mental health issues whether they are members of the OPP or members of our communities,” Commissioner J.V.N. (Vince) Hawkes said.
Some of the notable achievements over the last year in Supporting Our People include delivering mental health awareness and resiliency training to more than 6,900 members and increasing access to the OPP Critical Incident Stress Response Team/Peer Support Program.
Advances in Supporting Our Communities include an increase in early referrals to community support services for those with mental health issues; the introduction of a tool to aid officers in communicating more effectively and consistently with medical professionals; and more than 6,000 frontline members completed mental health-specific de-escalation training.
“Members across the organization have embraced this strategy,” Commissioner Hawkes said. “It remains a work in progress and I am so proud of all that has been accomplished in a little over a year.”