Ontario expanding mental health supports for the OPP
By Blue Line Staff
By Blue Line Staff
April 6, 2021 – The Ontario government is investing $12.5 million over three years to strengthen the mental health services available to Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and their families. The funding will support the hiring of 20 additional mental-health support staff and enhance the OPP’s Healthy Workplace initiative to address issues of mental health and occupational stress injuries. This investment is part of the 2021 Budget, Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy.
“Police personnel are among the professionals who are most likely to be exposed to occupational stress situations while protecting our communities,” said Sylvia Jones, Solicitor General. “They often put themselves in harm’s way and experience incidents that most of us will never have to face. This is why our government is stepping up to significantly enhance the mental-health and well-being services and supports that are available to our valued officers, staff and their families.”
The Healthy Workplace program is available to OPP officers and civilians, retired members, as well as their family members. The program’s enhancements will also allow the OPP to provide consultation and support to its Indigenous and municipal police partners.
This investment builds on recently announced initiatives to provide the OPP with the resources they need to better protect communities while safeguarding their mental health and well-being. These include the hiring of 200 new front-line OPP officers to alleviate work pressure on other staff; a $2.6-million investment to hire new OPP psychologists and other mental health clinicians; as well as the creation of a new integrated mental health support program launched in partnership with the Ontario Provincial Police Association (OPPA).
Together, these initiatives respond to recommendations made by the OPP Independent Review Panel (IRP) in its final report released last year. The panel was established to examine the OPP’s workplace culture and how the force addressed staff mental health, occupational stress injuries and suicide among its members.