Province launching plan to curb suicide 'crisis' at OPP
Government says 13 officers have died by suicide since 2012
Ontario is launching new mental health supports for provincial police officers, after more than a dozen have died by suicide in recent years.
Community Safety and Correctional Services Minister Sylvia Jones says the Ontario Provincial Police are facing a mental health crisis, with 13 officers having taken their own lives since 2012.
"Your jobs are challenging ones. You experience situations. We can only imagine," Jones said at a news conference at a Barrie OPP detachment. "It is estimated that over a 30-year career, a frontline police officer is exposed to more than 900 traumatic events. You carry these experiences with you and if left untreated that can lead to tragic results."
Jones announced that the province will partner with the Ontario Provincial Police Association to deliver the program, which will soon be put out for tender.
"When it comes to frontline OPP officers — immediate action is needed," she added.
OPPA president Rob Jamieson says it's a decisive first step in addressing what he calls the largest issue facing both active and retired members.
"Through this new program we will foster an environment where our members can freely come forward and get the help that they truly need in an environment where the stigma that keeps our members from coming forward is eliminated," said Jameson.
The OPP launched an internal review after a spate of suicides among its ranks last summer.
Ontario's chief coroner is also looking into the issue, with a review of police suicides across the province after eight active officers and one recently retired officer died by suicide last year.
Where to get help
Canada Suicide Prevention Service
In French: Association québécoise de prévention du suicide: 1-866-APPELLE (1-866-277-3553)
Kids Help Phone:
Text: TALK to 686868 (English) or TEXTO to 686868 (French)
Live Chat counselling at www.kidshelpphone.ca
Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention: Find a 24-hour crisis centre
If you're worried someone you know may be at risk of suicide, you should talk to them, says the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention. Here are some warning signs:
- Suicidal thoughts.
- Substance abuse.
- Feeling trapped.
- Hopelessness and helplessness.
- Mood changes.
With files from CBC News