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CMHA offers opinion about operational stress injuries and mental illnesses in the police force

January 10, 2014

Kathy Jurgens, National Program Manager for Mental Health Works – a Canada-wide program based at CMHA Ontario – was recently quoted about the mental health challenges that officers face in their line of work.

Photo of Kathy Jurgens, Program Manager of CMHA's Mental Health Works program

Kathy Jurgens, Program Manager of CMHA’s Mental Health Works program

Jurgens told Canadian Safety Reporter, a trade publication for health and safety managers and human resources professionals involved in workplace safety, that police officers are vulnerable to operational stress injury and mental health issues and, subsequently, there must be more psychological services and programs to assist them.

“Mental health has been one of the last frontiers for a stigmatized population. The stigma is a societal stigma that we need to bust and break down, and policing, the OPP, has a unique challenge because not only do we have preconceived ideas of people with mental health issues, we certainly have preconceived ideas of what a police officer should be too. They kind of collide,” said Jurgens. “We have an assumption about police officers — that they’re screened, that they’re young, they’re healthy, they’re fit, they’re invincible. And we tend to realize ongoing stress and strains can impact someone’s health.”

Read more about what Jurgens had to say by reading the full article.

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