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article imageMental readiness strategies revealed for Canadian police Special

By Tim Sandle     Feb 19, 2015 in Health
Toronto - This week delegates from across Canada gathered in Mississauga, Ontario to share perspectives, learn from best practices and develop strategies to improve psychological health and safety in police organizations.
Mental health and policing is an important subject, and many police officers suffer from mental health issues. Mental ill-health in policing generally is a subject that is not normally discussed very often. However, considering that police officers engage in activities most people would shy away from, do, it should come as no surprise that the police, like many healthcare staff, are far more likely to suffer from stress, depression and anxiety when compared to the population as a whole.
According to Louise Bradley, President & CEO of the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), participants at the February [url=http:// https://www.cacp.ca/the-conference-on-mental-readiness-strategies-for-psychological-health-safety-in-police-organizations.html?mid=220 t=_blank]Conference on Mental Readiness -Strategies for Psychological Health and Safety in Police Organizations included police leaders and personnel, mental health practitioners, educators, researchers and members of the police community with lived experience of mental health problems and illnesses.
The Mental Health Commission of Canada collaborates with various partners to change the attitudes of Canadians toward mental health problems and to improve services and support. The goal is to help people who live with mental health problems and illnesses lead meaningful and productive lives. The Mental Health Commission of Canada is funded by Health Canada.
The conference, Bradley explains, dealt with some important issues. Foremost is that the "dynamics of policing dictates that police personnel, and other first responders, are exposed to a unique and difficult set of job-related hazards." She went on to add that "policing culture can reinforce stigma related to mental illness and it is therefore our challenge to change how we collectively treat and think about mental health problems and illnesses."
In relation to this key health related subject, Bradley recounts that the conference set out some key objectives. These were: to raise awareness of the importance and significance of psychological health and safety for all those working in police organizations and their families. Other important aims included providing "police leaders and policy makers with the necessary tools to implement and maintain a psychologically healthy and safe environment." In terms of a safe environment, the best model was seen as following the guidance of the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (PH&S Standard).
Some other necessary aims, Bradley notes, were to "examine the evidence base in support of emerging models and promising practices...and encourage the use and development of evaluation tools and outcome measures to determine the effectiveness of programs and strategies."
After a full and in-depth series of discussions, Bradley notes that the conference called upon all police services across Canada to ensure that a clear and coherent mental wellness strategy is in place for their members and staff and to continue to create opportunities to encourage open, trusting conversations in safe environments.
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