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Panel on police suicides says officers need better mental health support

Panel on police suicides says officers need better mental health support
Panel on police suicides says officers need better mental health support

ملفات اخبار العرب24-كندا: Chief Coroner for Ontario Dr. Dirk Huyer speaks to the media in Toronto, Friday, April 27, 2018. (Galit Rodan/Canadian Press)

Police officers need better and clearer mental health and suicide prevention resources, recommends a report by a panel assembled by Ontario's chief coroner.

The report, released Wednesday, was written by members of the policing community and mental health professionals on the panel, which was formed after nine officers killed themselves in 2018.

Its release comes just days after an Ottawa police officer died by suicide at police headquarters on Friday.

The report stresses the need to end the stigma around mental health issues for police members, from the time they're in basic training through their careers, as well as members of the public.

Among the panel's 14 recommendations is the creation of an Ontario Police Members Mental Health Collaborative (OPMMHC), made up of people from police service boards, police associations, police officers, their family members and mental health providers.

The group would be charged with finding gaps and overlaps in the mental health support network, and report on any progress twice a year to the office of the solicitor general, who's responsible for law enforcement in Ontario.

It would also aim to work at reducing barriers for members needing immediate help, by encouraging a "no-wrong-door" mindset across the province where there aren't any barriers to getting mental health support.

Another recommendation is that the office of the chief coroner, Dr. Dirk Huyer, develop policy to keep track of any first-responder suicides, and hold a "death review committee" for each one.


Need help? Here are some mental health resources:

  • Association québécoise de prévention du suicide: 1-866-APPELLE (1-866-277-3553)
  • Ottawa Suicide Prevention: 613-238-3311
  • The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention has a list of resources across the country.

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