REGINA, Dec. 8, 2017 /CNW/ - Every day, the women and men of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) carry out their public service with professionalism, integrity, and devotion. Through their work, these brave officers – who spend their careers working hard to keep Canadians safe – are exposed to higher rates of traumatic events than the general public. The demands, expectations, pressures, and stresses associated with policing are intense and unrelenting.
That is why, today at the RCMP Academy, Depot Division, the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, announced that a contract has been awarded to the University of Regina to conduct a study on the effects of policing on the mental health of RCMP officers.
Its purpose is to identify psychological and physiological signs of trauma and stress-related disorders, including post-traumatic stress.
The study will be conducted through the use of wearable technology, annual psychological assessments and self-reporting measures. Participation will be voluntary and all data will be given anonymously, to protect the privacy of the RCMP member. These findings will assist the RCMP in developing long-term plans to support the mental health of its members and will be valuable to other public safety organizations, including police services, fire fighters and paramedics.
"Post-traumatic stress injuries, and other operational stress injuries, disproportionately affect police officers – people who work tirelessly to keep our communities safe and secure. We are committed to providing RCMP officers with the mental health support they need to recover. The results of this study will help us better understand the problem and provide better support."
The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
"The RCMP recognizes the importance of the mental health of its members. We expect this study to provide invaluable information that can be used to enhance prevention and intervention measures to improve the psychological health and safety of our employees and other first responders."
Deputy Commissioner Daniel G.J. Dubeau, Acting Commissioner, Royal Canadian Mounted Police
"Supporting and protecting the mental health of those who serve and protect us 365 days a year is of the utmost importance. The University of Regina is internationally recognized for its work in clinical psychology, particularly PTSD and other operational stress injuries, and through the efforts of our researchers this significant study aims to make a positive difference in the lives of many people in the years to come."
Dr. Vianne Timmons, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Regina
- The contract for this research was awarded to the University of Regina by Public Services and Procurement Canada following a competitive process and is valued at up to approximately $8.9 million for the first three years of the 10-year study.
- The RCMP has various prevention and intervention measures in place to improve psychological health and safety for all of its employees. Despite these measures, the RCMP continues to lose the services of many members as a result of mental health related issues. For example in 2014, 41.7% of long-term disability claims for RCMP regular members no longer with the force (e.g., medical discharge) were related to mental health conditions.
- Public safety officers play a critical role in keeping our communities safe from a range of threats, putting their lives on the line to protect us. In the course of their daily work, public safety officers are repeatedly exposed to traumatic incidents, which can put them at great risk for operational stress injuries, including post-traumatic stress injuries.
- The Government of Canada continues to work closely with a broad stakeholder community, including all levels of Government, Indigenous leaders, public safety stakeholders, academia, mental health professionals and not-for-profit organizations, to develop a coordinated action plan on post-traumatic stress injuries in support of public safety officers.
SOURCE Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada
For further information: Contacts: Scott Bardsley, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, 613-998-5681, [email protected]; Media Relations, Public Safety Canada, 613-991-0657, [email protected]; Media Relations, RCMP, 613-993-7267, [email protected]; Ashley Michnowski, Press Secretary, Office of the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Public Services and Procurement Canada, 819-997-5421; Media Relations, Public Services and Procurement Canada, 819-420-5501, [email protected]; Dale Johnson, University of Regina, 306-585-3291, 306-531-5995 (cell), [email protected]