In partnership with the RCMP, the University of Regina is conducting a study to better understand Operational Stress Injuries including PTSD that RCMP Members and other police officers experience all too frequently. The premise of the study is that ongoing, early detection and treatment will more effectively manage and prevent serious impacts.
Brian Sauvé: I’m here with Dr. Nick Carleton from the University of Regina to remind Members that there’s an ongoing project studying a longitudinal study into operational occupational stress injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder. Dr. Carlton, do you want to give us a bit of an overview of what this study is, when it started, what it entails and what the results are?
Dr. Carleton: I’d be delighted. The study really is a historical milestone with respect to mental health, and I find that it’s very appropriate that it is the RCMP who are leading us in that charge towards improving mental health for all RCMP and all those who serve. The study is designed to help us better understand the variables that make us more or less at risk to experience a mental health injury, to build a system that allows us to better protect the mental health of all RCMP officers.
Brian Sauvé: So obviously, mental health is a topical subject, whether you’re in Toronto or in Fort St. John, B.C., whether you’re a member of a police service or just an ordinary Canadian. But it has become more prevalent and obviously the issues around mental health are higher within the first responder and a public safety field. So your goal really is to ultimately get what?
Dr. Carleton: Ideally, we’d like to make it such that the prevalence of post-traumatic stress injuries or operational stress injuries or mental health disorders among our RCMP are no different than or even better than the general population. So in the general population, at any given time, about 10 percent suffer from difficulties associated with one or more mental health challenges. And for RCMP, the best data that we have suggests that it’s 50 percent that are having trouble with one or more mental health challenges. So that’s five times higher. And given the incredible service that they’re providing to all of us, I think it is our moral duty to find a way to make sure that while they’re serving and protecting all of us, we’re doing our best to protect them so that they can continue the terrific work that they’re doing.
Brian Sauvé: From our perspective at the NPF, we’re here to support Members and better the world Members and whether it’s a Member involved death, whether it’s a major police incident or whether it’s a Member who dies by suicide. All of our Members are impacted by that. So the more that we can do at the NPF to encourage better treatment and better resilience and better care for our Members, if it takes five years, it takes five years and if it takes a decade, it takes a decade. But we have to support that as an employee organization. And that’s why we’re sitting here with Dr. Nick and encouraging you guys. If you want to pull out your smartphones right now, you can go to RCMPstudy.ca. Nick, do you have any closing questions? Closing remarks?
Dr. Carleton: I guess I would just build off of one of the things you said. We’re really not here to scare anybody. We think that this is a solution to reduce the probability that you’re going to have a mental health injury at all. And if you do end up with an injury, we think the earlier we get you help, the faster you’re going to get better. So we see this as a huge potential gain. And I’m just still to this day, extraordinarily grateful and in awe of the self-sacrifice and the contributions that all of our cadets are about to make and that all of our RCMP have been making for so many years. So, I’m very privileged to be able to give back to the RCMP in this way.
Brian Sauvé: That’s great. Thank you.