In order to support the mental health of the OPP workforce, and improve outcomes of police interactions with people with mental health issues in communities, OPP released its’ first Mental Health Strategy, Our People, Our Communities on Dec 2, 2015. The Strategy has two distinct pillars, Supporting Our People and Supporting Our Communities. The first pillar will support the OPP workforce with the necessary education and training in mental health so they can serve to their full capacity. The second pillar will focus on improving the response of the OPP workforce in crisis situations when they are interacting with people in the community experiencing a mental health crisis.
“The development of OPP’s comprehensive and integrated Mental Health Strategy is encouraging, but there`s still work to do to address the issue of police interactions with individuals experiencing a mental health crisis,” said Camille Quenneville, CEO of CMHA Ontario.
“We applaud the OPP’s Mental Health Strategy and the focus it places on the health and well-being of officers and their families, as well as the commitment to improve police interactions with individuals experiencing a mental health crisis,” Quenneville said. “While the strategy is a positive development, we know that more collaborative work is required when it comes to enhancing the relationship between police services and the mental health and addictions sector.”
CMHA Ontario encourages police and mental health agencies within communities to collaborate and find effective solutions for improving police interactions with people experiencing mental health conditions.
OPP has committed to developing protocols with hospital emergency departments to improve transfer of care for individuals in crisis. In line with this work, CMHA Ontario and its’ branches are also working in partnerships with local and regional Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committees across the province to address the issue of reducing wait times in emergency departments. The Human Service and Justice Coordinating Committees work together to determine best ways to help individuals with mental illnesses and other special needs who are in conflict with the law. More information on the Human Service and Justice Coordinating Committees can be found on the HSJCC website.
For more information on the Mental Health Strategy, Our People, Our Communities, visit the OPP’s website. To watch the media conference announcing the Strategy, including remarks by Yasir Naqvi, Ontario Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services and OPP Commissioner Vince Hawkes, visit the OPP Youtube Channel.