Transcript: Addressing Police Mental Health and Suicide | Nov 04, 2019

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, blue shirt, and spotted blue tie.

A caption on screen reads "Addressing police mental health and suicide. @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says THE NATURE OF THE JOB
WE ASK THEM TO DO IS UNLIKE ANY
OTHER.
AND SO WHEN 9 ACTIVE OR FORMER
POLICE OFFICERS IN THE PROVINCE
WERE LOST TO SUICIDE LAST YEAR,
ONTARIO'S CHIEF CORONER WENT TO
WORK.
HE ASSEMBLED AN EXPERT PANEL TO
LOOK FOR CAUSES AND SOLUTIONS.
WE NOW HAVE THE RESULTS OF THAT
INQUIRY.
WITH US TO EXAMINE THE ISSUES IT
RAISED:
DR. DIRK HUYER, HE IS ONTARIO'S
CHIEF CORONER...

Dirk is in his fifties, clean-shaven, with receding white hair. He's wearing glasses, a black suit, white shirt, blue tie and red poppy pin.

Steve continues HUGH STEVENSON, HE IS SAULT Ste.
MARIE'S CHIEF OF POLICE...

Hugh is in his late fifties, balding, with a mustache. He's wearing a decorated police shirt and black tie.

Steve continues DR. LORI GRAY, PSYCHOLOGIST AND
FOUNDER OF FRONTLINE RESILIENCE,
A MENTAL HEALTH CLINIC IN BARRIE
FOR FIRST RESPONDERS, AND A
MEMBER OF THE EXPERT PANEL
BEHIND THE CORONER'S REPORT...

Lori is in her mid-forties, with long straight ginger hair. She's wearing a dark gray blazer, white blouse, pendant necklace and a red poppy pin.

Steve continues BRUCE CHAPMAN, PRESIDENT OF THE
POLICE ASSOCIATION OF ONTARIO...
CURRENTLY ON SECONDMENT FROM
PEEL REGIONAL POLICE...

Bruce is in his sixties, with short gray hair and a mustache. He's wearing a blue suit, shirt and tie, and a red poppy pin.

Steve continues AND ROB JAMIESON, PRESIDENT OF
THE ONTARIO PROVINCIAL POLICE
ASSOCIATION AND A CURRENT
SERGEANT WITH THE OPP AS WELL.

Rob is in his late forties, clean-shaven, with short gray hair. He's wearing a blue suit, checkered shirt, striped blue tie and red poppy pin.

Steve continues IT'S GREAT TO HAVE EVERYBODY
AROUND THIS TABLE FOR A TRULY
TIMELY AND IMPORTANT DISCUSSION,
AND OBVIOUSLY, CHIEF CORONER, I
WANT TO START WITH YOU AS TO WHY
YOU FELT THE NEED TO PUT THE
COMMISSION TOGETHER IN THE FIRST PLACE.

The caption changes to "Dirk Huyer. Chief Coroner for Ontario."
Then, it changes again to "Service and sacrifice."

Dirk says THANK YOU VERY MUCH, STEVE.
FIRST OFF, I WANT TO RECOGNIZE
THAT THE NINE LOST LIVES OF THE
SERVICE MEMBERS THAT DIED IN
2018 AND EXPRESS MY CONDOLENCES
TO THE FAMILY, FRIENDS,
COMMUNITIES, AND THE SERVICES
WHERE THEY SERVED.
WHAT I WAS SEEING WAS A NUMBER
OF DEATHS, OF POLICE SERVICE
MEMBERS, DESPITE MULTIPLE
EFFORTS TO ENHANCE THE WELLNESS
OF POLICE SERVICES.
SO IN 2012, THE OMBUDSMAN OF
ONTARIO RELEASED A REPORT, AND
THERE WERE A NUMBER OF STEPS
TAKEN BY DIFFERENT POLICE
SERVICES AND THE MINISTRY OF THE
SOLICITOR GENERAL TO TRY TO
ENHANCE WELLNESS STRATEGIES.
SO ANY DEATHS WERE TOO MANY, AND
EVEN BEYOND THAT, I SAW MORE
DEATHS THAN WE HAD SEEN IN
PREVIOUS YEARS.
THAT DREW MY ATTENTION TO THE
ISSUE, AND I BROUGHT A
PROVINCIAL FOCUS TO TRY TO
UNDERSTAND, IS THERE SOME
SYSTEMIC ISSUE THAT WE'RE
MISSING?
IS THERE SOMETHING ELSE THAT WE
COULD BE DOING DIFFERENTLY AS A
SOCIETY AND AS A GOVERNMENT AND
AS A POLICE SERVICE ORGANIZATION
TO TRY TO IMPROVE WELLNESS?

Steve says GIVEN YOUR POSITION,
YOU DEAL WITH DEATH ALL THE
TIME, IF I CAN PUT IT THAT WAY.
YOU'VE OBVIOUSLY INVESTIGATED,
YOUR OFFICE, THOUSANDS OF DEATHS
OVER THE YEARS.
I DO WANT TO KNOW... I DON'T
WANT TO KNOW EVERYTHING YOU
LEARNED AS A RESULT OF WHAT YOU
WENT THROUGH, BUT I WOULD LIKE
TO KNOW, WHAT'S THE SINGLE MOST
IMPORTANT THING YOU NOW KNOW
THAT YOU DIDN'T KNOW BEFORE
COMMISSIONING THIS REPORT?

Dirk says I THINK FOR ME THE MOST
SIGNIFICANT THING THAT I LEARNED
WAS THE IDENTITY OF A POLICE
SERVICE MEMBER AND HOW THAT
IDENTITY EXTENDS ALL ACROSS
THEIR LIVES.
IT'S NOT IDENTITY JUST AT WORK,
IT'S IDENTITY AT HOME, AT PLAY,
WITH THEIR FAMILIES, AND AT
WORK...

Steve says WHAT DOES THAT MEAN,
EXACTLY?

Dirk says SO THEY ARE A POSITION OF
SIGNIFICANT RESPONSIBILITY
WITHIN SOCIETY.
WE LOOK TO POLICE TO BE THE
FINAL PERSON THAT WE'LL CALL OR
THE FINAL GROUP THAT WE'LL CALL
WHEN THERE'S A TRAGEDY OR A
DIFFICULTY.
THEY'RE RUNNING TO VIOLENCE
WHILE WE'RE RUNNING AWAY FROM
IT.
THEY HAVE THIS INCREDIBLE
RESPONSIBILITY OF UPHOLDING THE
LAW, SERVING AND PROTECTING, AND
YET HAVE AN INCREDIBLE AMOUNT OF
OVERSIGHT AND ACCOUNTABILITY
GIVEN THEIR SIGNIFICANT
RESPONSIBILITY.
MANY OFFICERS, AS I UNDERSTAND
IT, DESCRIBE IT AS A CALLING,
ONE WHERE THEY WANT TO SERVE
SOCIETY, THEY WANT TO LEAD, THEY
WANT TO DO THEIR BEST TO ENSURE
THE SAFETY AND WELL-BEING OF
SOCIETY, AND THAT IDENTITY, AS I
SAY, EXTENDS RIGHT ACROSS THEIR
LIVES.
THEY'RE HEROS AT HOME, BRINGING
THEIR WORK AND THEIR IDENTITY
HOME AS WELL AS WITH FRIENDS AND
OTHERS.

Steve says UNDERSTOOD.
LORI, WHAT SORT OF DETAILS WERE
YOU ABLE TO ACCESS WORKING
THROUGH THE CORONER'S OFFICE
THAT LED TO THE FINDINGS IN YOUR
REPORT?

The caption changes to "Lori Gray. Frontline Resilience."

Lori says CERTAINLY.
THE PANEL EXISTED OF EIGHT
MEMBERS, EIGHT SUBJECT MATTER
EXPERTS, EACH WITH DIVERSE
BACKGROUNDS.
EACH BROUGHT THAT INFORMATION TO
THE PANEL.
WE REVIEWED IN DETAIL ALL OF THE
OFFICERS' LIVES AND DEATHS, AND
THEN ALSO INTERVIEWS WITH THE
SPOUSES, INTERVIEWS WITH THE
FAMILIES, INTERVIEWS OF PEOPLE
WITH LIVED EXPERIENCE, AND THEN
WE ALSO HAD A SERIES OF
PRESENTATIONS FROM DIFFERENT
GROUPS THAT COULD HELP TO SHED
ADDITIONAL LIGHT ON POLICE
MEMBER WELLNESS AND SUICIDE.

Steve says I SHOULD ASK YOU THE
SAME QUESTION I JUST ASKED THE
CHIEF CORONER: WHAT DO YOU NOW
KNOW THAT YOU DIDN'T KNOW BEFORE
EMBARKING ON THIS?

Lori says QUITE A LOT.
WHAT STOOD OUT TO ME THE MOST AS
A PSYCHOLOGIST WERE THE UNIQUE
TRAJECTORIES THAT CULMINATE IN
INCREASED RISK FOR POLICE
OFFICERS.

Steve says UNIQUE TRAJECTORIES.
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

Lori says SO THERE'S GENERAL RISK
FACTORS WITHIN THE GENERAL
POPULATION, BUT WHEN WE LOOKED
AT THE LIVES AND DEATHS OF EACH
OF THESE POLICE MEMBERS, WHAT WE
FOUND IS THERE WERE THREE
TRAJECTORIES THAT CULMINATED IN
THEIR DEATH.
ONE TRAJECTORY WAS AN ACUTE
MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES COMBINED
WITH SUBSTANCE YOUTH.
THERE WAS ANOTHER TRAJECTORY
THAT WAS LOST AND DIMINISHED
ACCESS TO CARE.
AND THE THIRD TRAJECTORY, WHICH
WAS PEOPLE BECAME DISCONNECTED.
THEY BECAME DISCONNECTED FROM
THEIR FAMILIES, THEIR FRIENDS,
THEIR COLLEAGUES, THEIR
WORKPLACES, AND OFTEN THERE WAS
A TIPPING POINT THAT
PRECIPITATED THEIR DEATH.

Steve says SO THERE'S NO ONE
WAY THAT AN OFFICER IN TROUBLE
EVENTUALLY GETS TO SUICIDE.
IT'S WAY MORE COMPLICATED THAN
THAT.

Lori says IT WAS A COMBINATION OF
FACTORS, BUT A COMBINATION OF
FACTORS THAT WAS IDENTIFIABLE
AND CERTAINLY NOT INVISIBLE.

Steve says GOTCHA.
CHIEF, LET ME GET YOU INTO THIS
DISCUSSION.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE POLICE
IDENTITY AND HOW IT MESHES WITH
MENTAL HEALTH AND SUICIDE,
PICKING UP ON WHAT THESE TWO
HAVE JUST SAID?

The caption changes to "Hugh Stevenson. Sault Ste. Marie Police Service."
Then, it changes again to "Unique to policing."

Hugh says WELL, I WOULD ABSOLUTELY AGREE THAT
POLICE OFFICERS HAVE AN IDENTITY
EXCLUSIVE TO WHAT WE DO.
SOMETIMES NEW MEMBERS OF
AGENCIES TALK ABOUT, YOU KNOW, I
ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A POLICE
OFFICER.
SO IT'S IN THEM FROM DAY ONE.
AND THE BIGGEST THING I PICKED
UP FROM THIS REPORT, AND FROM MY
DISCUSSIONS, IS THAT YOU HAVE TO
LOOK AT THE WHOLE INDIVIDUAL,
THE WHOLE POLICE OFFICER.
THE POLICE OFFICER DOESN'T
PRESENT AS AN INDIVIDUAL.
HE OR SHE COMES FROM A WHOLE
NETWORK OF EXPERIENCES, WITH
FAMILY, WITH PARENTS, AND IN
FAIRNESS, THERE'S A LOT OF
STIGMA, HISTORICALLY, TO COME
FORWARD, BECAUSE WE ARE THE
STRONG IN THE COMMUNITY, WE ARE
THE STRONG IN THE FAMILY.
WHAT WE'VE TRIED TO DO, I THINK
ALL OF US COLLECTIVELY IN
POLICING, FOR A LONG TIME, IS
REMOVE THAT STIGMA AND START TO
TALK ABOUT IT.

Steve says HOW SUCCESSFULLY ARE
YOU HAVING AT THAT?

The caption changes to "Hugh Stevenson. Sault Ste. Marie Police Service."

Hugh says WELL, YOU KNOW, TO BE FAIR, I
THINK WE'VE COME A LONG PIECE
FROM WHERE WE WERE 25, 30 YEARS
AGO, GENTLEMEN, LADIES, AND EVEN
OUR OWN SERVICE, THE ISSUE OF
TALKING ABOUT WHAT WE SEE OUR
FRIEND AND FAMILY GO THROUGH.
WE'VE STARTED A PEER-TO-PEER
PROGRAM IN 2016, WITH FUNDING
FROM LET'S TALK OUT OF BELL,
WHICH WAS HUGELY POWERFUL FOR US
IN TERMS OF THE FACT THAT WE NOW
HAVE NOMINATED PEOPLE IN OUR
ORGANIZATION WHO ARE TESTED
PSYCHOMETRICALLY AND ALSO HAVE
THE PSYCHOLOGICAL INTERVIEW TO
BE ABLE TO INTERACT WITH OTHER
OFFICERS AND CIVILIANS IN
POLICING, AND THAT IN ADDITION
TO THE FACT THAT WE ALSO
ENCOURAGE FAMILIES TO TALK ABOUT
THIS.
AND SO MY LAST POINT IS THIS, IS
THAT I THINK WE CAN PREVENT A
LOT OF THIS IN THE FUTURE IF WE
CONTINUE TO HAVE FRIENDS AND
FAMILY OPEN UP ABOUT WHAT THEY
SEE DIFFERENTLY IN THAT MEMBER'S
LIFE.

Steve says BRUCE CHAPMAN, LET
ME GET YOU IN ON THIS.
HOW HAVE THE SUICIDES IN THE
UNITS THAT YOU'VE HAD PURVIEW
OVER, HOW HAVE YOU DEALT WITH
THOSE SUICIDES?

The caption changes to "Bruce Chapman. Police Association of Ontario. @BruceChapman924."

Bruce says WELL, IN THE
PAST, I THINK, YOU KNOW,
DR. HUYER'S COMMENT ABOUT THE
EXTRAORDINARY POWERS THAT POLICE
OFFICERS HAVE, AND AS A RESULT
OF THAT, IN THE PAST WE HAVE
WITHHELD OUR OWN PERSONAL
STRUGGLES AND DEALING WITH THE
ISSUES SURROUNDING MENTAL HEALTH
AND HOW WE DEAL WITH
OCCUPATIONAL STRESS AND POST
TRAUMATIC STRESS ON SOME OF THE
INCIDENTS THAT WE DEAL WITH.
YOU KNOW, THE PAST... I'VE HAD
OFFICERS IN MY POLICE
ASSOCIATION, MY LOCAL POLICE
ASSOCIATION, DIE BY SUICIDE.
I'VE HAD MEMBERS OF MY UNIT DIE
BY SUICIDE.
NONE OF THOSE WERE EVER
REPORTED.
THEY WERE ALMOST HIDDEN FROM THE
PAST.
AND I THINK WE'VE COME A LONG
WAY IN STARTING THE
CONVERSATION, NORMALIZING MENTAL
HEALTH... AND THAT WAS ONE OF
THE MAIN POINTS IN THIS REPORT
IS ABOUT NORMALIZING MENTAL
HEALTH AND REMOVING THE STIGMA
ONE DAY AT A TIME, AND I THINK
WE'VE STARTED.
I THINK WE HAVE A LONG WAY TO
GO, BOTH IN OUR ORGANIZATIONS
AND AMONGST OURSELVES AND OUR
OWN ORGANIZATIONS TO MOVE THAT
BAR HIGHER.

Steve says ROB, LET ME FOLLOW
UP WITH YOU ON THIS ISSUE OF...
YOU GUYS ARE ALL IN A MACHO
CULTURE, RIGHT?
AND IT'S NOT EXCLUSIVELY MALE
BUT IT'S CERTAINLY MORE MALE
THAN FEMALE.
HOW DOES THE FACT THAT EVERYBODY
FEELS A NEED TO BE INCREDIBLY
TOUGH AND MACHO FIGURE INTO ALL
OF THIS?

The caption changes to "Rob Jamieson. Ontario Provincial Police Association. @R_JamiesonOPPA."

Rob says WELL, IT DEFINITELY FIGURES INTO THIS, AS
HAS BEEN MENTIONED PREVIOUSLY BY
MY COLLEAGUES ON THIS PANEL.
IT IS A CULTURE, TRADITIONALLY,
THAT HAS EVOLVED QUITE A BIT TO
TALK ABOUT THE NORMALIZATION OF
MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES.
HOWEVER, THERE'S STILL THAT
WHOLE CULTURE OF BEING THERE FOR
OTHER PEOPLE, AND I ALWAYS DRAW
TO THE AIRPLANE ANALOGY WHERE
THE MASKS COME OUT OF THE
CEILING AND I HAVE TO PUT THAT
MASK ON YOURSELF FIRST BEFORE
YOU CAN HELP OTHER PEOPLE.
IN OUR CULTURE, YOU JUST HAVE TO
GET TO THE POINT WHERE WE'RE
CONTINUING TO TALK MORE ABOUT
THESE ISSUES, WHETHER IT'S THIS
SHOW OR OTHER OPPORTUNITIES TO
TALK ABOUT, IT'S OKAY TO PUT
YOUR HAND UP AND SAY, YOU KNOW
WHAT?
I NEED SOME HELP.
BUT I THINK AWARENESS OF THE
ISSUES IS ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL.
WE HAVE SEEN FOLKS WHO ARE
SUFFERING FROM PTSD OR OSI
ISSUES...

Steve says PTSD I'VE HEARD OF.
WHAT'S OSI?

Rob says OCCUPATIONAL STRESS INJURIES.

Steve says GOT IT.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Rob says AND THERE'S JUST NOT THAT
SITUATIONAL AWARENESS.
SO I THINK FROM AN AWARENESS
STANDPOINT, IT'S ABSOLUTELY
CRITICAL.
STIGMA STILL EXISTS.
I ALSO THINK THAT WE HAVE TO
ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO PUT THEIR
HANDS UP AND SAY, YOU KNOW WHAT?
I'M NOT MYSELF TODAY.
HOWEVER... AND WE NEED TO HAVE
THEIR LOVED ONES, SPOUSES, ALSO
EDUCATED ON SOME OF THE SIGNS
AND SYMPTOMS THAT GO ALONG WITH
THAT TO ASSIST.
THEN WE HAVE TO HAVE TANGIBLE
SUPPORT PROGRAMS IN PLACE SO
WHEN THOSE HANDS DO GO UP, THAT
THOSE FOLKS ARE ABLE TO ACCESS
THAT TREATMENT AND THAT SUPPORT.

Steve says LORI, I'M TOLD 70 percent
OF POLICE OFFICERS AROUND THE
PROVINCE ARE MALE.
SO I WANT TO ASK YOU ABOUT THE
30 percent WHO ARE FEMALE.
DO THEY FEEL THEY NEED TO BE AS
MACHO AS THEIR MALE COLLEAGUES?

Lori says YOU KNOW,
IT'S INTERESTING... GOOD QUESTION.
I PERSONALLY DON'T FEEL THAT THE
ISSUE IS GENDER CONSTRAINED.
WE SELECT, WE TRAIN, WE
REINFORCE POLICE OFFICERS TO PUT
OTHERS BEFORE THEMSELVES WHILE
MAINTAINING THEIR OWN SAFETY.
WE SELECT, TRAIN, AND REINFORCE
THEM TO MAINTAIN THEIR STOICISM,
AND IT DOESN'T SWITCH ON AND OFF
LIKE A LIGHT SWITCH VERY EASY,
AND IT GETS TO A POINT WHERE IT
PERMEATES, AND THAT TAKES A
TOLL.
IF ANYTHING, FEMALE POLICE
OFFICERS, MANY REPORT THEY HAVE
TO BE ON PAR OR GREATER IN
MAINTAINING THAT.

Steve says IS THAT YOUR
EXPERIENCE, ROB, WHEN AN OFFICER
IS TRAINED REGARDLESS OF GENDER,
THEY ARE TRAINED TO BE TOUGH AND
MACHO.
IT COMES WITH THE GIG?

Rob says I DON'T
ALWAYS THINK OF IT IN TERMS OF
BEING MACHO, BUT I THINK THAT
ALL OF THE PARTNERS... AND I CAN
ONLY SPEAK OF CERTAINLY MY OWN
EXPERIENCE.
I'VE HAD QUITE A NUMBER OF
PARTNERS ON THE JOB THAT HAVE
BEEN WOMEN, AND PHENOMENAL
POLICE OFFICERS, AND I HAVE THE
HONOUR OF REPRESENTING SO MANY
PHENOMENAL MALE AND FEMALE
POLICE OFFICERS.
I THINK IT'S... IT'S A TYPE OF
PERSON THAT WANTS TO GET IN.
I THINK IT WAS MENTIONED EARLIER
BY THE CHIEF, PEOPLE FEEL IT'S A
CALLING.
SO THEY GO IN WITH THE
EXPECTATIONS THAT THEY WANT TO
SERVE, THEY WANT TO PROTECT.
AND THE PEOPLE THAT I REPRESENT
GO IN IT WITH THAT ATTITUDE.
SO I HAVEN'T DRILLED DOWN
SPECIFICALLY AND I DON'T KNOW IF
I'M QUALIFIED TO GIVE YOU THAT
EXACT ANSWER, BUT FROM MY
OBSERVATIONS AND THE PEOPLE THAT
I REPRESENT, THEY GO IN, IT'S A
CALLING, AND THEY'RE PHENOMENAL
AT WHAT THEY DO AND THEY WANT TO
PROTECT AND SERVE.

Steve says BRUCE, AT THE RISK
OF ASKING YOU TO RECALL SOME OF
THE MOST UNHAPPY MOMENTS OF YOUR
LIFE, BUT I HOPE IN THE
INTERESTS OF KIND OF MAKING SURE
THAT PEOPLE WATCHING AND
LISTENING TO THIS RIGHT NOW
UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU FOLKS DEAL
WITH ON A REGULAR BASIS, CAN YOU
TELL US ABOUT SOME OF THE WORST
NIGHTS OF YOUR LIFE ON THE JOB?

Bruce says YEAH.
I'LL GIVE YOU A SPECIFIC EXAMPLE
THAT STILL, YOU KNOW, YOU THINK
ABOUT EVERY DAY.
A YOUNG PATROL SERGEANT, I HAD
JUST BEEN PROMOTED.
I WAS TEN YEARS OUT OF UNIFORM.
I WENT BACK TO THE ROOM.
I WAS ASSIGNED TO AN AREA I HAD
NEVER WORKED BEFORE IN EAST
MISSISSAUGA.
SO YOU'RE OUT DRIVING AROUND IN
YOUR SERGEANT'S CAR AND YOU'RE
THERE TO BACK UP YOUR OFFICERS,
AND I COME ACROSS A MAJOR
INTERSECTION WHERE THERE SEEMS
TO BE SOME SMOKE AND CARS ARE
STARTING TO BACK UP.
I ASK THE DISPATCHER ABOUT, IF
THERE'S ANY REPORTS OF ACCIDENT.
NONE HAD BEEN REPORTED AT THAT
TIME.
SO I DROVE TO THE INTERSECTION,
AND THERE WAS A SMALL CAR
COMPLETELY CRUMPLED BY A
TRANSPORT TRUCK AT AN
INTERSECTION, AND THE CAR WAS SO
BADLY DAMAGED.
SO I CALLED IT IN, REQUESTED
EMERGENCY SERVICES, BUT IT WAS
ONE WHERE YOU DIDN'T HAVE A
CHANCE TO REACT TO KNOWING WHAT
YOU WERE GOING TO GET YOURSELF
INTO, THAT THERE WAS A BAD
ACCIDENT REPORTED, SO YOU COULD
PREPARE YOURSELF.
YOU COME ACROSS THIS.
I MANAGED TO GET OUT OF THE CAR.
IT HAD JUST HAPPENED.
PEOPLE WERE JUST GETTING OUT OF
THEIR OWN VEHICLES AT THAT TIME.
RAN TO THIS SMALL CAR.
I BASICALLY HELD THIS
18-YEAR-OLD FEMALE IN MY ARMS
AND SHE DIED IN MY ARMS.
LO AND BEHOLD... YOU KNOW, AND
THEN YOU HAVE OTHER
RESPONSIBILITIES OF ENSURING THE
SCENE IS PROTECTED.
AND THEN MY NEXT DUTY WAS
HAVING, AS A PATROL SERGEANT,
HAVING TO DRIVE DOWN THE ROAD TO
THE BUSINESS WHERE THIS YOUNG
WOMAN'S PARENTS WERE, WHERE THEY
WERE EXPECTING HER FOR LUNCH.
SHE WAS GOING TO SEE THEM FOR
LUNCH.
AND TO TELL THEM THAT THEIR
DAUGHTER HAD PASSED AWAY.
PROBABLY ONE OF THE MOST
TRAUMATIC INCIDENTS I'VE EVER
COME ACROSS WITHOUT ANY
FOREWARNING ON WHAT I WAS
GETTING MYSELF INTO.
YOU KNOW, THAT NIGHT, YOU GO
HOME... AND IT WAS OLD CULTURE
AND WHAT WE NEED TO CHANGE IN
THIS PANEL AND IN OUR INDUSTRY,
IS YOU JUST SUCK IT UP, YOU GO
HOME, AND I SLEPT WITH THE
LIGHTS ON BECAUSE EVERY TIME I
CLOSED MY EYES, I SAW THAT YOUNG
WOMAN.
YOU KNOW, THOSE WILL STICK WITH
YOU.
AS WE PROGRESS FURTHER WITH THIS
REPORT AND WITH WHAT WE ARE
DOING AS AN ORGANIZATION, BOTH
SERVICES, ASSOCIATIONS,
GOVERNMENT, IS WE'RE CHANGING
THAT.
SO THAT NO ONE HAS TO GO THROUGH
THAT AND SLEEP WITH THEIR LIGHTS
ON AT NIGHT.

Steve says DID YOU SEEK ANY
KIND OF MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT
AFTER THAT EPISODE?

Bruce says NO, BECAUSE YOU WERE... AT
THOSE TIMES, YOU WERE CONSIDERED
WEAK AND YOU WERE STRONG AND
YOUR JOB, YOU SUCKED IT UP.
THAT'S WHAT YOU WERE HIRED TO
DO.
THAT'S WHAT YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO
DO.
AND I THINK THAT MENTALITY FROM
THE PAST IS THE PAST, AND I
THINK, YOU KNOW, OUR
CONVERSATIONS GOING FORWARD IS
THAT'S NOT THE PRESENT AND IT'S
CERTAINLY NOT THE FUTURE.
WE'RE LOSING PEOPLE, DYING BY
SUICIDE, BECAUSE OF INCIDENTS
LIKE THAT.
SO THAT WAS THE PAST AND, NO, I
DIDN'T, BECAUSE I DIDN'T WANT TO
BE CONSIDERED WEAK, AND THAT'S
THE PHILOSOPHY THAT WE ALL HAD
AS YOUNG OFFICERS YEARS AND
YEARS AGO.

Steve says I WANT TO READ AN
EXCERPT FROM THE CHIEF CORONER'S
REPORT THAT LOOKED INTO ALL
THIS.
SHELDON, LET'S BRING THIS
GRAPHIC UP, IF WE CAN.

A quote appears on screen, under the title "Mental health calls take their toll." The quote reads "In most police jurisdictions across Ontario, estimates run as high as 40 percent of police calls for service being tied to incidents involving persons with mental health issues.
Police members have reported to us directly and in other studies we consulted that notwithstanding their high degrees of compassion, training and their on-scene professionalism that is the norm in these thousands of calls for services, most police members will soon come to regard any person with mental health issues as someone they would never want to be."
Quoted from the Report of the Expert Panel on Police Officer Deaths by Suicide. October 2, 2019.

Steve says CHIEF CORONER, YOU
KNOW, THIS DOES RAISE A WHOLE
LOT OF ISSUES OF... YOU KNOW, I
SHOULD ACTUALLY LET YOU JUST
STAFF RIFFING ON THAT.
THAT'S IDENTIFIED A REALLY TOUGH
PROBLEM.
WHAT DO YOU DO?

Dirk says WELL, I
DON'T HAVE THE ANSWER ON WHAT TO
DO, BUT I CAN TELL YOU AS ONE OF
THE MOST POIGNANT THINGS I
RECOGNIZED IN READING THE
REPORT, IT REALLY... NOT ONLY DO
THE OFFICERS HAVE THIS IDENTITY,
BUT THEY ALSO RECOGNIZE, WHAT
THEY SEE IN THOSE 40 percent ARE PEOPLE
IN THE WORST DAYS OF THEIR
LIVES, AND THAT BECOMES THE NORM
FOR THE OFFICERS AS WHAT A
MENTAL HEALTH ISSUE IS.
AND THEY'RE NOT LIKE THAT, IN
THEIR MINDS.
THEY'RE NOT LIKE THAT PERSON.
WHEN THEY'RE FEELING SAD OR
THEY'RE FEELING ANXIOUS OR
THEY'RE HAVING A TOUGH DAY,
THAT'S NOT WHAT THOSE PEOPLE
WERE, SO THEY DON'T ATTRIBUTE
THAT TO BE A MENTAL HEALTH ISSUE
AND THEREFORE DON'T THINK THAT
THEY NEED TO SEEK THAT HELP, AND
THEY DON'T WANT TO BECOME LIKE
THOSE PEOPLE THAT THEY WERE
SERVING ON THEIR WORST DAYS.
SO THAT PRODUCES THEIR OWN LACK
OF ABILITY TO CALL OUT OR TO
REACH OUT.
AND SO WHAT WE NEED TO DO IN A
SHARED WAY WITH ALL PEOPLE
INVOLVED WITH POLICE SERVICE
MEMBERS IS TO RECOGNIZE THAT
THAT OCCURS, TO RECOGNIZE THAT
MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES ARE NOT...
ARE VERY COMMON, AND THAT PEOPLE
SHOULD BE ABLE TO SPEAK UP AND
SEEK ASSISTANCE.
IT'S REALLY ABOUT REACHING TO
THE UPSTREAM, WHEN YOU HAVE SOME
EARLY CONCERNS, YOU DEAL WITH
THOSE CONCERNS.
AS ROB SAID, YOU KNOW, I'M
HAVING A BAD DAY.
OKAY, WELL TAKE TODAY OFF AND
TOMORROW I'LL BE BACK AT IT.
IT'S THINKING ABOUT AND
RECOGNIZING, WHEN YOU HAVE A BAD
DAY, THAT'S OKAY.
WE ALL HAVE BAD DAYS AND WE CAN
GET OVER THOSE BAD DAYS, AND IF
NOT, WE CAN GET MORE HELP.
BUT WAY BEFORE THEY GET DOWN TO
THOSE PATHWAYS LORI TALKED ABOUT
AND THE TRAJECTORIES TOWARDS
THEIR DEATH.
IF WE CAN DO ALL OF THAT AND
BRING PEOPLE TO RECOGNIZE, TO
ACCEPT, TO TALK ABOUT MENTAL
HEALTH ISSUES, THEN WE'RE GOING
TO BE SO MUCH STRONGER AS POLICE
ORGANIZATIONS AND SOCIETY.

Steve says OKAY.
THAT'S IN A PERFECT WORLD.
CHIEF, I'M GOING TO ASK YOU, IF
ONE OF YOUR OFFICERS CAME TO YOU
AND SAID, YOU KNOW WHAT?
I'M HAVING A TOUGH TIME.
I NEED A DAY, I NEED A MENTAL
HEALTH DAY.
IS IT NOT IN SOME RESPECTS THE
CHIEF'S JOB TO SAY, OUR
RESOURCES ARE PRETTY LOW TODAY,
MY FRIEND, AND I REALLY NEED YOU
OUT THERE.
HOW DO YOU RESIST FROM SAYING
THAT TO THE GUY?

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live, YouTube."

Hugh says STEVE, GOOD QUESTION.
HISTORICALLY, THAT'S EXACTLY
WHAT THE RESPONSE WOULD HAVE
BEEN.
IT'S "SORRY, WE'RE TIGHT TODAY."
BRUCE, YOU MENTIONED IT, "SUCK
IT UP.
IT WILL GET BETTER.
WHATEVER."
TODAY, HONEST, I CAN TALK ABOUT
COMMAND STAFF AT THE CHIEF AND
DEPUTY LEVEL, AT THE MIDDLE
MANAGER LEVEL, AT THE MIDDLE
MANAGER CIVILIAN LEVEL, THE ROAD
SERGEANTS, IF WE HEAR THAT AND
THAT PERSON HAS COME TO US
LEGITIMATELY AND SAID, "I DON'T
FEEL WELL TODAY."
TAKE THE DAY OFF.
TAKE TOMORROW OFF.
IS THERE ANYBODY WITH YOU?
DO YOU NEED SOMEBODY TO VISIT
YOU AROUND THE HOUSE?
HERE'S THE ISSUE, STEVE: THESE
RESOURCES, THESE PEOPLE AND
FAMILIES, WE HAVE TO TAKE CARE
OF THEM, AND WE REALIZE TODAY,
MORE SO THAN EVER, THE OUTCOME
OF NOT DOING THAT AND GOING DOWN
THAT TRAJECTORY.
AND I SPEAK FOR THE REST OF MY
COLLEAGUES IN POLICING AT THE
CHIEF LEVEL AND THE DEPUTY.
WE UNDERSTAND THE ISSUE AND THE
HARM FROM NOT LISTENING, AND SO
WHEN IT COMES TO SOMETHING LIKE
THAT, IT JUST SEEMS SO SIMPLE TO
SAY, "TAKE THE DAY OFF."
WE'RE A BIG ENOUGH ORGANIZATION
TO ABSORB THAT AS A SICK DAY,
AND I CAN SAY, I CAN TAKE IT ONE
STEP FURTHER.
WHEN PEOPLE COME AND SAY, "YOU
KNOW WHAT?
WE REALLY HAVE AN ISSUE.
I'M JUST NOT FEELING WELL
TODAY."
GET THEM TO HELP THAT DAY AS
OPPOSED TO SIMPLY A DAY OFF.

Bruce says AND JUST TO ADD TO THE CHIEF
THERE, I THINK THERE'S ONUS ON
THE POLICE SERVICE, THE POLICE
ASSOCIATION, OURSELVES TO
RECOGNIZE THAT WE NEED
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES, SO WHEN
WE'RE LOOKING AT COLLECTIVE
AGREEMENTS AND BUDGETING FOR THE
END OF THE YEAR WITH OUR
MUNICIPALITIES AND THE
GOVERNMENT IS THEY HAVE TO
RECOGNIZE THAT IF WE DON'T TREAT
OUR PEOPLE EARLY, WE'RE GOING TO
LOSE THEM FOR A LONG PERIOD OF
TIME.
SO YOU INVEST A DOLLAR IN THEIR
MENTAL HEALTH TODAY, YOU'RE
GOING TO SAVE $10 IN GETTING
THEM BACK ON THE ROAD IN THE
FUTURE AND THEY'RE GOING TO BE
ALIVE TO SPEND THE REST OF THEIR
CAREER DOING WHAT THEIR CALLING
IS.

Steve says ROB, I'VE HEARD THE
EXPRESSION... WELL, IT'S IN THE
REPORT, ACTUALLY.
BROKEN TOYS.
WHAT DOES THAT REFER TO?

Rob says WELL,
ACTUALLY, WHEN I WENT OFF WORK
IN 2013, I WAS DIAGNOSED WITH
PTSD.
IN FACT, I WAS REFERRED TO AS A
BROKEN TOY, SO I CAN ACTUALLY
SPEAK TO THAT ON A PERSONAL
LEVEL AND HOW DETRIMENTAL THAT
IS.
I THINK THERE'S IGNORANCE THAT
IS THERE.
I THINK THERE ARE PEOPLE THAT
AREN'T ACKNOWLEDGING THEIR OWN
JOURNEY THAT THEY'RE ON AND, YOU
KNOW, IT'S COMPLETELY
UNACCEPTABLE THAT ANYONE WOULD
BE REFERRED TO IN THOSE TERMS.
SO WHAT WE NEED... AND I THINK
WHAT BRUCE AND EVERYONE HERE IS
SAYING AS WELL IS, THERE ALSO
NEEDS TO BE A PARADIGM SHIFT IN
THE WAY IN WHICH WE TREAT OUR
PEOPLE.
AND I'M VERY PLEASED WITH OUR
NEW COMMISSIONER, THOMAS.
HE AND I HAVE ESTABLISHED WITH
OUR ASSOCIATION AND THE OPP AN
INCREDIBLE RELATIONSHIP.
HE GETS IT.
HE'S VERY FRONT LINE-FOCUSED.
HE'S VERY POSITIVE ABOUT MENTAL
HEALTH.
AND THE COLLABORATION, AND IT'S
A TRUE PARTNERSHIP THAT WE HAVE,
THEY WON'T HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS,
WE WON'T HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS,
BUT THROUGH OUR PARTNERING AND
COLLABORATING AND THROUGH IT NOT
BEING A CONDITIONAL PARTNERSHIP,
WE CAN BE THERE FOR ONE ANOTHER
AND SUPPORT OUR PEOPLE IN A MUCH
MORE EFFECTIVE MANNER.
AND IN THIS DAY AND AGE, AS IT
ALWAYS HAS BEEN, WORDS MATTER,
AND WE HAVE TO BE MORE
RESPONSIBLE WITH THE WAY IN
WHICH WE SPEAK TO OUR PEOPLE.
WE HAVE TO ALSO LOOK AT WHERE
THE INTERSECTIONALITY BETWEEN
DISCIPLINE AND MENTAL HEALTH
COMES INTO PLAY, SO WE SEE SO
MANY OF OUR OFFICERS GETTING
CAUGHT UP IN SYSTEMS.
WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH SHAME THAT
EXISTS, AND WE HAVE TO CALL
PEOPLE OUT THAT TREAT PEOPLE IN
A DISRESPECTFUL FASHION AND THE
ISSUE OF SHAME AROUND THE POLICE
SERVICES ACT, HEARING DECISIONS.
WE JUST WENT THROUGH
NEGOTIATIONS EARLIER THIS YEAR
IN THE OPP, AND ONE OF THE FIRST
THINGS THAT I SAID ON BEHALF OF
OUR ASSOCIATION WAS, WE ARE NOT
GOING TO GO ANY FURTHER UNTIL WE
DEAL WITH THE HEARING DECISIONS
WHICH BASICALLY SHOWS PEOPLE AT
THE WORST TIME OF THEIR LIFE AND
IT THROWS THEM IN FRONT OF THE
ENTIRE ORGANIZATION FOR EVERYONE
TO SEE, AND WE WENT THROUGH
NEGOTIATIONS, AND WHAT HAPPENS
NOW IS, THOSE NAMES WITHIN THOSE
REPORTS ARE NOW ANONYMIZED.
WE ARE TAKING THE SHAME AWAY,
AND WE CAN STILL BE ACCOUNTABLE
TO THE PROCESS AND THE FACT THAT
WE ALL HAVE TO BE ACCOUNTABLE,
BUT IT'S THE WAY IN WHICH WE DO THAT.

Steve says ROB, CAN I GET
PERSONAL WITH YOU FOR A SECOND
HERE BECAUSE THIS IS NOT AN
ACADEMIC EXERCISE WITH YOU AND
WE'RE ABOUT TO FIND OUT MORE
ABOUT THAT.
HOW MANY OPP OFFICERS IN THE
WHOLE PROVINCE?

Rob says THERE'S APPROXIMATELY 6,000.

Steve says THEY ALL LOOK TO YOU
FOR LEADERSHIP BECAUSE YOU'RE
THE HEAD OF THE ASSOCIATION.

Rob says YES, SIR.

Steve says YOU WROTE AN
EXTRAORDINARY LETTER NOT TOO
LONG AGO.

Rob says I DID, LAST YEAR, YES.

Steve says WOULD YOU READ AN
EXCERPT OF THAT LETTER FOR US
RIGHT NOW?

Rob says YES.
THE SECOND-LAST PARAGRAPH OF THE
LETTER THAT I WROTE TO MY
MEMBERS AFTER WE DEALT WITH THE
THIRD SUICIDE OF ONE... AN OPP
MEMBER WAS...

He reads
I WRITE THIS MESSAGE
WITH TEARS IN MY EYES, NOT IN
THINKING OF MY OWN JOURNEY, BUT
OF THOSE WE HAVE LOST AND THEIR
FAMILIES LEFT BEHIND.
I'VE EXPERIENCED EXTREME TRAUMA
AS A RESULT OF DOING MY JOB AS A
POLICE OFFICER AND FOUR YEARS
AGO I NEEDED TO STEP AWAY.
THIS HAS BEEN A PERSONAL JOURNEY
AND IT IS DIFFICULT TO SHARE
WITH THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE I DO
NOT KNOW.
HOWEVER, I DO SO IN THE HOPE
THAT IT MAY GIVE SOME STRENGTH
TO HANG ON, TO SPEAK TO SOMEONE
AND TO KNOW THAT YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Steve says I CAN'T QUITE
IMAGINE THE GUTS IT TOOK FOR YOU
TO APPEAR THAT VULNERABLE IN
FRONT OF YOUR COLLEAGUES.
SO WHAT DID IT TAKE FOR YOU TO
BE ABLE TO DO THAT?

Rob says I LOOKED AT THE STRENGTH THAT
IT MUST HAVE TAKEN FOR THE
WIDOWS AND THEIR FAMILIES TO
HAVE TO GO THROUGH THAT PROCESS.
I LOOKED AT SOME INTERNAL
PUSHBACK I GOT WHEN I IDENTIFIED
LAST YEAR THAT THE OPP HAD A
PROBLEM ON ITS HANDS.
AND I LOOKED AT MYSELF IN THE
MIRROR AND I LOOKED AT MY
DAUGHTERS AND MY WIFE, AND I
SAID, I NEEDED TO NOT MAKE IT
ABOUT ME BUT I NEEDED TO GET IT
OUT THERE IN MY POSITION AND TO
USE MY PLATFORM FOR THE GREATER
GOOD AND TO TALK ABOUT THESE
THINGS AND TO GET REAL WITH
MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES, AND IT WAS
EXTREMELY FRIGHTENING, AS I WAS
CONCERNED THAT MY WORDS WOULD BE
TAKEN IN THE WRONG CONTEXT AND
POSSIBLY ADD ADDITIONAL HARM.
WHEN I DID THAT, SHORTLY AFTER,
THE OPP COMMENCED ITS INTERNAL
REVIEW ON MENTAL HEALTH AND I
WAS INUNDATED WITH PEOPLE FROM
AROUND THE PROVINCE AND MEMBERS
THAT WANTED TO OPEN UP ABOUT
THEIR... TO THE POINT WHERE I
WAS PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY
EXHAUSTED AFTER SEVERAL WEEKS OF
THIS.
IT WAS UNBELIEVABLE.
I DID NOT ANTICIPATE THIS
REACTION.
HOWEVER, I THINK IT'S INCUMBENT
UPON THOSE IN POSITIONS
ESPECIALLY OF LEADERSHIP TO GET
REAL ON THESE ISSUES, AND TO
REALIZE THAT WE ARE SERVANT
LEADERS.
WE EXIST FOR THE MEMBERS.
AND WE HAVE AN OBLIGATION TO
MAKE SURE THAT WE DO EVERYTHING
WITHIN OUR POWER, AND SITTING
IDLY BY IN THE SHADOWS ON A
PERSONAL LEVEL FOR ME WAS NOT AN
OPTION.

Steve says DR. GREY, HOW DO YOU
THINK WE CREATE A CULTURE THAT
ALLOW PEOPLE TO BE OPEN AND
HONEST ABOUT THEIR OWN SITUATIONS.

Lori says I THINK WE
NEED TO REMEMBER POLICE OFFICERS
CAN STRUGGLE PROFOUNDLY AND
CONTINUE TO FUNCTION.
THEY CAN CONTINUE TO FULFIL
THEIR ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
BUT THEY CAN BE IMPACTED
PROFOUNDLY AT THE SAME TIME.
IF WE WAIT UNTIL IT GETS TO A
POINT WHERE A POLICE OFFICERS
SAYS I TAP OUT, I HAVE NOTHING
LEFT.
THEY'RE VERY FAR DOWN THE
PIPELINE.
VERSUS THAT NEEDS TO REWIND AND
BE MUCH MORE PROACTIVE SUPPORTED
CARE.
THE REPORT REVEALED INCREDIBLE
GAPS, BARRIERS, DEFICIENCIES IN
CARE, IT SHED LIGHT ON THE
TRAJECTORY, BUT IT ALSO REVEALED
THAT WE NEED TO ADDRESS ALL OF
THOSE PIECES, SO, FOR INSTANCE,
THERE'S MANY SERVICES THAT ARE
DOING A GREAT JOB OF IDENTIFYING
RESOURCES, MENTAL HEALTH
RESOURCES, THAT ARE SUITABLE FOR
PROFFERS THAT ARE GETTING
THEIR... POLICE OFFICERS THAT
ARE GETTING THEIR PEOPLE RIGHT
INTO DEFINITIVE CARE RIGHT AWAY.
AND THE OTHER PIECE TO THAT,
WHICH WAS THE TITLE OF THE
REPORT, WAS MAKING SURE PEOPLE
STAY CONNECTED.
IT WAS INCREDIBLY HEARTBREAKING
TO LEARN A NUMBER OF POLICE
MEMBERS STATING THAT, YOU KNOW,
INITIALLY PEOPLE WERE SUPPORTIVE
AND THEY WERE THERE.
BUT THE LONGER THAT I WAS OFF,
THE DAYS, THE WEEKS, AS THEY
WENT ON, I HEARD FROM FEWER AND
FEWER PEOPLE.
SO WE NEED TO IMPROVE THE
COMMUNICATION, THE CONNECTION,
AND THE RELATIONSHIP WITH OUR
INJURED OFFICERS.
AND WITH THAT, WE NEED TO
APPROACH MENTAL HEALTH WITH AN
AWARENESS THAT THESE ARE NOT
DEFICIENCIES, THEY'RE INJURIES.

Steve says AS SOMEONE WHO RUNS
A POLICE SERVICE, CHIEF, CAN YOU
TELL WHEN YOU'VE GOT AN OFFICER
WHO IS IN TROUBLE?

Hugh says WELL, IT'S
NOT HARD WHEN YOU LOOK AT THEIR
EYES AND YOU HEAR THEIR STORY
AND YOU REALIZE THAT THIS
PERSON... I MEAN, THEY'RE GOING
DOWN A PATH THAT ISN'T HEALTHY.
THEY'VE TOLD YOU, "I DON'T FEEL
WELL TODAY."

Steve says THOSE ARE THE EASIER
CASES.
WHAT ABOUT THE CASES WHERE
SOMEBODY IS TRYING TO PUSH
THROUGH, THEY'RE TRYING TO SUCK
IT UP.
CAN YOU TELL WHEN THEY'RE IN
TROUBLE?

The caption changes to "Hugh Stevenson, @ChiefStevenson1."

Hugh says THAT'S A GOOD POINT.
AS WE GO DOWN THIS MENTAL HEALTH
JOURNEY, IT'S IMPORTANT FOR
EVERYONE TO WATCH EACH OTHER.
YOU KNOW, POLICING FOR ME HAS
ALWAYS BEEN A TEAM APPROACH.
THE GUYS AND GALS ON YOUR SHIFT,
YOUR SERGEANT, AS MUCH AS WE
NEED TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT
HEALTH AND SAFETY RISKS, DEALING
WITH THE PUBLIC, WE NEED TO BE
MORE CONCERNED ABOUT THE HEALTH
AND SAFETY ISSUES IN OUR OWN
LIVES.
AND THAT'S WHERE IT TAKES PEOPLE
TO NOTICE THINGS.
YOU KNOW, COLLOQUIALLY YOU'LL
HEAR THINGS LIKE, YOU KNOW, WHY
ISN'T HUGHIE INTERESTED IN
FLYING?
HOW COME HE DOESN'T CONNECT WITH
THAT GROUP HE ALWAYS USED TO
LAUGH WITH, ROB AND THE BOYS.
HOW COME HE'S, YOU KNOW, GOING
DOWN THIS PATH?
HE SEEMS AWFULLY RESERVED.
THAT'S WHERE WE NEED... AND
WE'RE DOING IT IN OUR SERVICE ON
THE PEER-TO-PEER COUNSELLING
PIECE... WHERE WE WATCH OVER
EACH OTHER.

Steve says YOU NEED A REGULAR
CHECK-IN.

Hugh says AND MY POINT IS IT'S FOR US
AT THE JOB BUT IT'S ALSO FOR THE
FAMILIES BECAUSE THEY SEE THEM
MORE THAN WE DO.
AS WE GO DOWN THIS JOURNEY OF,
HOW CAN WE DO BETTER, MY
PERSPECTIVE IN OUR SERVICE IS WE
NEED TO TRAIN FAMILY MEMBERS ON
THOSE SIGNS AND CHECK IT EARLY.

Steve says GOTCHA.
BRUCE, YOU WANTED TO...

Bruce says I'LL EXPAND ON THE CHIEF.
INDIVIDUAL AS AN INDIVIDUAL OR
CHIEF ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT, NO,
I DON'T THINK WE CAN
INDIVIDUALLY SAY, THIS PERSON'S
SUFFERING OR THAT WE DON'T SEE.
BUT COLLECTIVELY WE CAN.
SO ONE OF THE... ONE OF MY
POINTS THAT I MADE TO THE EXPERT
PANEL WAS: SELF, SERVICE, AND
SPOUSE.
AND I USED THOSE THREE NOT AS
SILOS BUT AS PILLARS TO BE USED
TOGETHER.
SO SELF-IDENTIFICATION,
NOTIFYING... YOU KNOW, KNOWING
THAT I'M NOT RIGHT.
I AM SICK.
OR I AM NOT FEELING WELL.
OR I NEED A DAY OFF.
SERVICE, FOR THE SERVICE TO
HAVE... SERVICES IN PLACE WITHIN
THE SERVICE, ORGANIZATIONAL
WELLNESS, THE ABILITY TO GET
PSYCHOLOGISTS, PSYCHIATRISTS,
WHATEVER THEY NEED FOR THEIR
HEALTH AND WELLNESS.
AND SPOUSE OR FAMILY, BECAUSE
THEY ARE THE FIRST ONES TO
USUALLY RECOGNIZE WHEN AN
INDIVIDUAL POLICE OFFICER OR
POLICE MEMBER IS STARTING TO
SUFFER.
THEY'LL NOTICE THE CHANGES
BEFORE WE WILL AT WORK.
SO THAT COLLECTIVELY, BEING ABLE
TO USE THAT, THEN WE WILL KNOW
WHEN OUR PEOPLE ARE AT RISK AND
BE ABLE TO HELP THEM.

The caption changes to "Pathways to better outcomes."

Rob says IF I COULD
FOLLOW UP ON BRUCE'S POINT AND
IT'S A GREAT SEGUE.
ONE OF THE THINGS WE LEARNED
THROUGH THIS PROCESS, WE USED TO
HAVE CAPS ON OUR PSYCHOLOGICAL
SERVICES.

Steve says YOU MEAN THE OPP?

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Rob says YEAH, WE DID.
THE ASSOCIATION THAT ADMINISTERS
THE BENEFITS FOR ALL MEMBERS OF
THE OPP INCLUSIVE OF... ALL THE
WAY UP INTO THE COMMISSIONER AND
OUR RETIREES AND WE HAD CAPS ON
THE AMOUNT THEY COULD OBTAIN
PSYCHOLOGICAL SERVICES.
BUT YOU CAN'T... YOU CAN'T OFFER
THESE SERVICES, CAPPING IT, WHEN
IT INVOLVES MENTAL HEALTH.
SO WE SUCCESSFULLY NEGOTIATED,
SIMILAR TO OTHER SERVICES AROUND
THE PROVINCE, UNLIMITED
PSYCHOLOGICAL SUPPORTS.
WHAT I LEARNED THROUGH THE
PROCESS IS THAT CREATES A
BARRIER FOR THOSE PEOPLE WANTING
TO SEEK TREATMENT.
SO NOW THEY CAN GET IN.
WE'VE ACTUALLY SEEN QUITE A
SPIKE OF PEOPLE USING UNLIMITED
PSYCHOLOGICAL SUPPORTS AND I
THINK THAT'S A GREAT THING.

Steve says IS THAT IN FACT THE
CASE NOT JUST FOR THE OPP BUT
ALL POLICE SERVICES ACROSS THE
PROVINCE NOW?

Bruce says I REPRESENT THE 47 LOCAL
ASSOCIATIONS THROUGH THE
PROVINCE, AND THAT'S WHERE WE'RE
GOING TOWARDS.
SOME HAVE UNLIMITED.
SOME JUST BARGAINED UNLIMITED.
AND THE PUSH IS TO ENSURE THAT
ALL ASSOCIATIONS, ALL SERVICES
HAVE UNLIMITED PSYCHOLOGICAL
CARE BECAUSE, LIKE I SAID
EARLIER, INVESTED DOLLAR SAVES
10 dollars.
AND THAT'S THE REALITY OF THE SITUATION.
WE NEED TO LOOK AFTER OUR PEOPLE.

Steve says IT'S ONE THING TO
HAVE, TECHNICALLY SPEAKING,
ACCESS TO UNLIMITED CARE IF YOU
NEED IT.
YOU WOULD HAVE A GOOD SENSE
ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT IN FACT THE
RESOURCES ARE THERE IN THE
PROVINCE FOR PEOPLE TO AVAIL
THEMSELVES OF THESE SERVICES IF
THEY NEED THEM.
ARE THEY THERE?

Lori says GREAT QUESTION.
CERTAINLY ACCESS TO CARE AND
ADDRESSING ACCESS TO CARE IS A
FIRST STEP.
HOWEVER, WHAT WE FOUND WITHIN
THE REVIEW WAS THAT PEOPLE WERE
LOST IN THE SYSTEM.
THERE WAS GAPS IN CARE.
THEY WEREN'T SURE WHERE TO TURN.
I THINK ONE OF THE BIGGEST
TRAGEDIES THAT CAME OUT OF THE
REVIEW WAS THE SPOUSES OF THE
DECEASED OFFICERS.
THEY OFTEN IDENTIFIED CHANGES IN
THEIR LOVED ONE, YET THEY
WEREN'T SURE WHERE TO TURN.
AND FURTHER TO THAT, THEY
WEREN'T SURE WHERE TO TURN IN A
WAY THAT WOULD NOT HAVE NEGATIVE
REPERCUSSIONS TO THEIR LOVED
ONE'S CAREERS.
AND THIS IS WHERE, CIRCLING BACK
TO IT'S ACCESSIBILITY OF
RESOURCES, MAKING SURE THEY'RE
PRESCREENED, THEY'RE SUITABLE
FOR POLICE MEMBERS, BUT MAKING
SURE THAT INFORMATION GETS TO
WHO NEEDS IT, WHICH IS THE
POLICE MEMBER, IT'S COLLEAGUES,
IT'S THEIR FAMILIES, AND MAKING
SURE HOW THEY KNOW HOW TO GET
INTO CARE AND IT'S THERE.

Steve says DID YOU WANT TO ADD SOMETHING?

Rob says AND ON THAT POINT, YOU KNOW,
WE TALKED A LOT LAST YEAR AND
WE'VE BEEN TALKING A LOT ABOUT
THIS, BUT WE NEEDED TO DO MORE.
IN THE OPP ASSOCIATION, WHAT WE
DID IS WE DEVELOPED A PLAN THAT
IS COMPREHENSIVE AND INTEGRATED.
WE MANAGED TO SECURE THE FUNDING
FROM THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT,
AND ON MARCH 29TH OF THIS YEAR,
WITH THE SOLICITOR GENERAL,
SYLVIA JONES, WE MADE AN
ANNOUNCEMENT ABOUT OUR PROGRAM
TO TALK ABOUT EXACTLY WHAT
DR. GRAY IS SPEAKING OF, BECAUSE
PEOPLE NEED THAT AWARENESS PIECE
I WAS TALKING ABOUT.
THEY ALSO NEED EASED INTO THE
SYSTEM, IT NEEDS TO BE 24-7,
365, IT NEEDS TO BE A CIRCLE OF
CARE.
THAT DISCONNECT... WHEN THEY PUT
THEIR HAND UP, WE NEED TO TAKE
THEIR HAND AND BRING THEM
THROUGH THE PROCESS AND MAKING
SURE FAMILIES HAVE THE
INFORMATION THEY NEED AS WELL.
WE'RE AT THE POINT RIGHT NOW
WHERE WE'RE GETTING READY TO,
HOPEFULLY IN THE NEAR FUTURE,
LAUNCH OUR PROGRAM, WHICH WILL
PROVIDE VERY TANGIBLE SUPPORTS
AND MAKING SURE THAT THERE'S
PRE-TREATMENT, THERE'S PRE-CARE,
THERE'S TREATMENT FACILITIES,
THERE'S AFTER-CARE, BECAUSE WHAT
WE'RE SEEING AS WELL IS THAT OUR
FOLKS THAT GO TO, LET'S SAY
HOMEWOOD, WHEN THEY HAVE DONE
THEIR TREATMENT, THEY GO BACK
HOME AND THE PHONE HAS STOPPED
RINGING AND THERE'S THIS
DISCONNECT.
WE HEAR THAT TIME AND TIME AGAIN
AND I'VE EXPERIENCED THAT
PERSONALLY, THAT DISCONNECT...

Steve says MEANING YOUR FRIENDS
JUST DROP YOU?

Rob says LIFE GOES ON.
YOU KNOW, YOU GO TO WORK AND YOU
THINK, OH, YOU KNOW, IF I'M NOT
HERE, THEN THE WHOLE COMMUNITY
IS GOING TO FAIL.
BUT, NO, THERE ARE OTHERS THAT
PICK UP THE TORCH AND CONTINUE
ON, AND YOU REALIZE REALLY
QUICKLY SORT OF WHO YOUR FRIENDS
ARE, TO SOME DEGREE, AND IT'S A
REALLY HUMBLING PROCESS AND IT'S
A REALLY DIFFICULT PROCESS, AND
THE EFFECT THAT THAT PUTS ON
FAMILIES AS WELL.
WE'RE HOPING WITH THE
IMPLEMENTATION OF OUR PLAN
THAT'S COMING OUT, WE CAN
ADDRESS SOME OF WHAT DR. GRAY IS
TALKING ABOUT BECAUSE YOU'RE
SPOT-ON WITH YOUR COMMENTS.
IT'S ABSOLUTELY REAL.
WE SEE SPOUSES AND FAMILY
MEMBERS THAT DON'T KNOW WHERE TO
TURN.
AND WE NEED TO ALL DO A BETTER
JOB AT MAKING SURE THAT WE
PROVIDE THE SUPPORTS TO THOSE
FAMILY MEMBERS WHEN THEY NEED THEM.

Steve says WE'VE JUST GOT A
COUPLE MINUTES LEFT HERE AND I
GUESS SINCE THIS KIND OF STARTED
WITH YOU, I WANT TO CIRCLE BACK
TO YOU.
WHAT'S YOUR MESSAGE NOW FOR
FAMILIES WHO ARE IN THE MIDDLE
OF ALL OF THIS?

Dirk says MY MESSAGE
IS ONE THAT WE ALL NEED TO WORK
TOGETHER TO HELP TO SOLVE THIS
PROBLEM.
WE WANT TO ENHANCE THE WELLNESS
AND SUPPORTS FOR POLICE SERVICE
MEMBERS ACROSS ONTARIO.
BUT IT'S A SHARED
RESPONSIBILITY.
EVERYBODY HAS TALKED ABOUT
INDIVIDUALS GETTING INVOLVED.
ROB TALKED ABOUT POLICE SERVICE
MEMBERS.
BRUCE TALKED ABOUT ASSOCIATIONS.
THE CHIEF'S TALKED ABOUT
LEADERSHIP.
LORI HAS TALKED ABOUT MENTAL
HEALTH PROVISIONS.
FAMILIES NEED TO BE INVOLVED.
EVERYBODY NEEDS TO CONTRIBUTE
AND BRING EVERY PIECE TO THE
TABLE.
ROB TALKED ABOUT WORKING WITH
THE COMMISSIONER TOGETHER AND
HOW IT'S A PARTNERSHIP AND A
COLLABORATIVE WORK.
EVERYBODY KNOWS SOMETHING ABOUT
THIS.
EVERYBODY NEEDS TO CONTRIBUTE TO
FINDING SOLUTIONS THAT ARE GOING
TO NORMALIZE THIS ISSUE AND
ALLOW PEOPLE TO RECOGNIZE THAT
THEY HAVE MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES
AND THAT THAT'S OKAY, AND THEY
CAN GET BETTER AND THEY'LL
RESOLVE.
IF THEY DON'T, THEY'LL GET CARE
THEY NEED TO GET AND THAT CARE
NEEDS TO BE DEFINED,
EVIDENCE-BASED AND AVAILABLE,
AND NAVIGATABLE AS ROB HAS
DESCRIBED IT.
THOSE ARE THE MESSAGES THAT I
FEEL STRONGLY ABOUT WHEN I READ
THE REPORT, WHEN I TALK TO THOSE
WITH LIVED EXPERIENCE, AND I
HEARD FROM MANY, MANY, MANY
THROUGH THIS JOURNEY OF THE
REPORT, AND PHENOMENAL STORIES
AND INCREDIBLE RESILIENCE AND
INCREDIBLE STRENGTH.

Steve says WHAT DOES THE CHIEF
CORONER SEE AS HIS
RESPONSIBILITIES NOW GOING FORWARD?

Dirk says I THINK MY RESPONSIBILITIES
ARE TO SUPPORT THOSE WHO ARE
TAKING THAT SHARED ROLE OF
MOVING THINGS FORWARD.
I'M AVAILABLE AS A RESOURCE TO
TALK ABOUT OUR REPORT, JUST AS I
DID HERE TODAY, ABOUT THE
RESPONSIBILITY I WILL CONTRIBUTE
WHEREVER IS DESIRED BUT I'M NOT
THE LEAD IN IT, BUT I WILL BE
THERE WHENEVER PEOPLE WANT ME ANYWHERE.

The caption changes to "Producer: Patricia Kozicka, @TrishKozicka."

Steve says GOTCHA.
I WANT TO THANK ALL OF YOU FOR
COMING IN TODAY AND HAVING WHAT
IS A VERY IMPORTANT DISCUSSION
AND DEALING WITH IT IN SUCH AN
OPEN WAY.
I'M REALLY GRATEFUL AND
HOPEFULLY, IF I CAN USE THE
FOOTBALL METAPHOR HERE, WE CAN
MOVE THE BALL DOWN THE FIELD A
LITTLE BIT.
I THANK ALL OF YOU FOR COMING
FROM NEAR AND FAR.
SAULT STE. MARIE IS PRETTY FAR
TO GET TO OUR STUDIOS TODAY.
THANK YOU SO MUCH TO YOU ALL.

The caption changes to "Subscribe to The Agenda Podcast: tvo.org/theagenda."

All the guests say THANK YOU.

Watch: Addressing Police Mental Health and Suicide