OPP and Partners to Explore Personal Experiences and Insights at Mental Health Symposium

THE BLUE MOUNTAINS, ON, April 4, 2016 /CNW/ - Speakers from across North America will share their real-life accounts and understandings of the complex issues related to mental health at The Push for Change: A Two-Day Mental Health Symposium – Our People, Our Communities on April 12 - 13.

Among the many presenters, Lieutenant-General, the Honourable Roméo Dallaire (Retired) will discuss reducing our walking wounded and caring for those injured psychologically. Other speakers include Sheldon Kennedy, Lead Director at the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre and Trooper Dr. Bobby Smith who was blinded by a shotgun blast to the face.

Joe Roberts, the Executive Director of a national youth empowerment campaign, will share his inspiring story as a young homeless heroin addict in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside and will be available for one-on-one interviews after his presentation. All other symposium sessions are closed to the media, but the organizers will be available to answer questions.

Upwards of 200 participants from many sectors including police and other first responders, mental health practitioners and people with lived experience are expected to attend the symposium. The event is presented by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) in partnership with the Town of The Blue Mountains and the Town of Collingwood. It is a natural next step to the recently released OPP Mental Health Strategy: Our People, Our Communities and will focus on the importance of awareness, community mobilization and partnerships between service providers, communities and policing organizations.

The complete symposium program and the OPP Mental Health Strategy are available at www.OPP.ca. For members of the media unable to attend in person, requests for phone interviews can be arranged in advance via the media contact below.


"The best approach to mental health is ongoing and collaborative. This symposium will help shift attitudes and consolidate new approaches to address and respond to mental health issues for our people and our communities."

– J.V.N. (Vince) HAWKES, OPP Commissioner

"Ontario's first responders do so much for us every day ‎and our government strongly believes that strengthening mental health supports for them is the right thing to do and vitally important to building even safer, stronger communities. This symposium is a testament to that commitment which will help inform our work of improving their physical and mental well-being. That work through our Supporting Ontario's First Responders' Act is a strong symbol that builds on the OPP's own Mental Health Strategy and our Strategy for a Safer Ontario, to develop a comprehensive approach to increase opportunities for early intervention, ensure first responders have the right supports, and improve outcomes for both officers and the people they serve."

– Hon. Yasir Naqvi, Ontario Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services

SOURCE Ontario Provincial Police

For further information: Media Contact: Sgt. Peter Leon, Provincial Media Relations Coordinator, Phone: 705-329-6878, Email: peter.leon@opp.ca


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