Boots on the Ground non-profit to offer alternative wellness program
Police officers in Ontario have organized to incorporate a new non-profit geared to offering over-the-phone and in-person support to first responders throughout the province.
Boots on the Ground is slated to officially launch this fall and currently boasts a group of 56 volunteers, including serving and retired police officers.
“We believe that our two-on-one peer support model makes us stand out from other resources currently available,” said Boots on the Ground president Dave McLennan. “We are looking to offer an alternative to current wellness programs being offered through employers. We believe that these programs are under-utilized because of fears associated with social stigma and confidentiality issues. By keeping this completely separate from employee wellness programs our hope is that more people will utilize our available services.”
Boots on the Ground will have 40 people trained in peer support as of June 2018 and McLennan noted they will be training the remainder of the group and other volunteers shortly. He said they are also establishing a 1-800 number to include on the web page so people can call for immediate assistance.
“This number will be answered by volunteers on their own cell phones so that nobody has to sit in an office waiting for calls,” he said.
Boots on the Ground services will be open to police members as well as Fire, EMS and Corrections employees.