The Southeast District of the RCMP has received an award from the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) for being a “mentally healthy workplace.”
“I feel pretty proud,” Southeast District Chief Supt. Brad Haugli said. “I hope others will turn to us and learn how we were able to accomplish it in such a short period of time.”
The Southeast District was the first RCMP district in Canada to roll out the “Road to Mental Readiness” program in Feb. 2016.
The course teaches employees how to recognize the signs of mental illness in themselves and their colleagues and when to seek help.
All 1,600 employees from Southeast District have taken the course.
They include RCMP officers, civilian workers, reservists and RCMP volunteers.
Jim Harrison, a former staff sergeant who was the driving force in bringing the CMHA program to the Southeast District, told Global News he had a personal reason for wanting to raise awareness around mental health.
“Back in 1985 a fellow police officer who happened to be one of my best friends took his own life,” Harrison said. “All of his close friends, myself included, we didn’t see it coming and he didn’t reach out for help.”
RCMP districts across Canada have followed the Southeast District’s lead and are offering the program to their employees.