A new mental health initiative out of Moose jaw is partnering with police officers to work on breaking the stigma of depression. 

Alliance Health is offering its new program —that cost about $500,000 —for free to police officers and up to 500 local residents who have depression.

The program includes group behaviour therapy, mindfulness stress reduction, exercise and social support. 

Part of the program will be held at the YMCA, which is offering free use of its facility.

Dr. Mark Lemstra, with the Alliance Health Medical Clinic, said exercise is key. 

"Whether it's due to the serotonin changes or due to getting out of the house or being part of a group, there's something about doing group exercise programs that helps most people," he said. 

Police partnership

Cpl. Taylor Mickleborough was at an announcement for the event on Wednesday. 

"I can stand in front of you folks and tell you that I felt the effects of stress disorders myself and my job," he said. 

Mickleborough said he hopes that police participation will push others to seek treatment for depression.

"To show people that it's okay to get help and in fact it takes courage to want to get help, and I'm proud of our members to lead the way," he said. 

The program begins next month and will take three years to complete.