Program aims to address ‘mental health crisis’ in the OPP

TORONTO – The provincial government has announced a new mental health program for OPP personnel.

The program, which aims “to help with work-related stress and post-traumatic stress disorder,” will be funded by the government and run by the Ontario Provincial Police Association (OPPA), states a March 29 press release.

“The unique challenges and demands our brave men and women in uniform experience on the job when protecting our communities can have a severe impact on their mental health and emotional wellbeing,” said Sylvia Jones, community safety and correctional services minister.

“The commitment we are making today, in partnership with the [OPPA], will address a mental health crisis in the OPP.”

The program, which the government calls “modern” and “innovative,” will focus on OPP personnel and their families.

Not a lot of specific details were announced by the government, but officials say the program will provide:

– a one-stop approach to “easily and quickly” connect individuals to the appropriate mental health supports and services;

– a “confidential and personalized” experience with continuous support and guidance;

– access to employee and family assistance programs, children- and seniors-focused support services, tele-health support, crisis intervention specialists such (registered nurses or psychiatrists) and mental health treatment facilities.

“On a regular basis, our members are asked to willingly subject themselves to traumatic events,” said Rob Jamieson, president of the OPPA.

“The resources currently in place to assist our members and their families are insufficient to address the mental health crisis that currently exists in the OPP.”

He added the “integrated and comprehensive mental health program” represents “a decisive first step in addressing the single largest issue facing our active and retired members.

“The commitment made today by our partners in government goes well beyond any mental health resources presently available.”