RCMP commissions long-term study on the impact of stress on police officers

News Release

December 8, 2017
Regina, Saskatchewan
Public Safety Canada

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.


Quotes

“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

Quick Facts

  • 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.

Associated Links

Contacts

Scott Bardsley
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
613-998-5681
scott.bardsley@canada.ca

Media Relations
Public Safety Canada
613-991-0657
media@ps-sp.gc.ca

Media Relations
RCMP
613-993-7267
RCMP.HQMediaRelations-DGRRelationsmedia.GRC@rcmp-grc.gc.ca

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
Media@pwgsc-tpsgc.gc.ca

Dale Johnson
University of Regina
306-585-3291
306-531-5995 (cell)
Dale.johnson@uregina.ca


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