Mental Health Awareness: Practical Skills for First Responders by Stephanie Miloknay and Marc Laferriere

Chief Stephen J. Tanner
March 23, 2018
By Chief Stephen J. Tanner
Mental Health Awareness: Practical Skills for First Responders
By Stephanie Miloknay and Marc Laferriere; 2017, 302 pages
ISBN: 978-1-77255-255-3

I have had the privilege of serving as a police officer for just over 35 years, spending the last 16 as Chief of Police in Belleville, Kingston and, more recently, back home in Halton Region. Prior to that I worked in the frontlines and investigative units, where I experienced first-hand the complex world of policing and its intersection with mental health and addictions.

There is no doubt in my mind this complexity impacts all frontline emergency service agencies as well as health and social service providers. There is no doubt that mental health is front and centre in so much of what our staff now do, and it is incumbent on us, at all levels within our agencies, to ensure adequate training and support.

When I was asked to review Mental Health Awareness: Practical Skills for First Responders I was unsure of what to expect. I found a text that was complete and concise, that covered so many aspects of mental health, and that looked at addictions and dependencies — plus the societal issues that impact frontline service providers — from all perspectives.

This book could not have been written by anyone except individuals with a strong background in emergency services, policing and mental health. Stephanie Miloknay and Mark Laferriere clearly have this expertise. This book not only details the variety of mental health issues that a frontline emergency service worker will encounter and need to understand, it also provides numerous practical examples of the varied issues. These examples will lead to meaningful discussion and reflection, and ultimately maximize the learning experience.

I was thoroughly impressed by the content and layout of this text. I would strongly urge frontline emergency training academies and all police services to consider using this text to inform or instruct all staff.

- Chief Stephen J. Tanner,
Halton Regional Police Service

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