Mental Health Awareness Growing in our Community

** Post by Inspector Mitch Yuzdepski

Bell’s “Let’s Talk” Day on January 28 is a great opportunity for many of us in the community to reflect on what we are doing both within our own organizations and in the larger community to address mental illness.  Brave public figures such as Olympian Clara Hughes’ and TSN’s Michael Landsberg’s own public admissions about their personal struggles with depression will undoubtedly help those suffering in silence to seek help without such a negative social stigma.

The Saskatoon Police Service works with many of our community partners and together we have established initiatives such as the Stabilization Unit at The Lighthouse, a Police and Crisis Team (PACT), and have trained some of our members in Mental Health First Aid Training and Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training.

In Vancouver, the police report up to 21% of their calls for service deal with persons suffering from some type of mental health crisis. This figure may provide some insight into the possible scope of mental illness across Canada.

In 2014, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police are focusing on what we can do to improve outcomes for mentally ill persons involved in the system and we support that research.


To learn more about the SPS programs, join us tomorrow, January 28th, on Twitter to talk about mental health illness from a beat officers perspective. This month’s #askSPS chat will run all day as we walk with Cst. Chesney and Cst. Franklin, starting with an interview on CTV Morning Live at 7:45 a.m.

Here’s a post explaining how to sign up for, and follow @SaskatoonPolice on Twitter.

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One Response to Mental Health Awareness Growing in our Community

  1. Naomi says:

    Saskatoon is in a very unique position among most Canadian urban settings. We have RPC in town. I know that some officers in the SPS are former CXs from that facility. I think it would be an excellent idea for all police officers to spend some time shadowing staff at the RPC (or similar places in Canada) to see how they safely deal with persons in a mental health crisis, especially if they tend to become violent.

    If the chiefs are going to talk about the mental health issues that arise in the community, I would hope that they have people who live with it on a day-to-day basis. Nothing is more useless than people who have no real idea of what they’re dealing with, coming together to talk about something they don’t understand, and not getting input from those who do. I can’t think of any police chief who would stand up in front of her or his peers and speak about their own mental health issues, or those of family. So it’s necessary to have the personal explained to the professionals.

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