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Mental health conversation front and centre after trio of OPP deaths

A union leader with the police force thinks more extensive dialogue is needed when it comes to finding help for officers dealing with PTSD.
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Three suicides among Ontario Provincial Police officers in as many weeks has prompted an OPP union leader to call for a broader conversation about strategies to deal with officers struggling with mental health issues.

Provincial police brass say they are "devastated by the losses," adding that many questions remain unanswered.

Ontario Police Association President Bruce Chapman told the Rick Gibbons Show on 1310 NEWS, the issues around Post Traumatic Stress Disorder demand broader conversations and outside-the-box ideas, such as expanding psychological testing for new police recruits.

"We do it for those who go into those high-stress jobs within the police service, like child exploitation. We do it with a lot of forensics officers, we do it before we get hired, to make sure we are fit to do the job -- we have psychological testing," explained Chapman. "Is it time, maybe, to ensure that we have continued check ups for all of our officers?"

Listen to the full conversation with Bruce Chapman:

While presumptive legislation passed in 2015, recognizing PTSD as a job-related injury, was a step in the right direction, Chapman said more extensive dialogue is needed.

He believes more OPP members need to be encouraged to get help, and part of that starts with officers being able to recognize signs of struggle in one another.

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