Support for Calgary police officers after the suicide of one of their own
CPS is increasing mental health supports to help members cope with the suicide of an officer.
The off-duty officer took her own life on Friday, April 1, 2016, leaving friends, family and co-workers in shock.
“At the end of the day, we don't know what happened in this particular situation, I don't even know if it's work related, it could have been personal,” said Calgary Police Superintendent Nina Vaughan.
According to Tema Conter Memorial Trust, an organization that offers mental health supports for first responders, 13 first responders in Canada have taken their own lives this year, including 2 in Alberta. In 2015, 39 first responders committed suicide in Canada, and there were 27 suicide deaths the year before.
Since 2014, Calgary Police implemented the Road to Mental Readiness Program developed by the Department of National Defense to increase mental health literacy.
“Our jobs and this career in public service leads to some additional stress, that's why we have such a robust support network and system for our employees,” said Vaughan.
EMS receive the same training, and members in both serices say they understand the kind of stress that comes with the job, and are grateful for the support.
“At times, some scenes are graphic and disturbing for those first responders and paramedics to go to,” said Nick Thain, EMS & IFT Operations South Sector. “As a father of 2 young boys, events with children can be a challenge for myself and so I think everyone approaches calls differently.”
Major Crimes and the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team are investigating the officer’s suicide. The service is now holding a number of support sessions for anyone in the service.Four CPS members have committed suicide in last 25 years.