Chief Myron Demkiw reiterated the commitment to meaningful action and creating positive change to enhance the wellbeing of employees and community members as part of Bell Let’s Talk Day.
“Today, we will once again focus on addressing the mental health needs in our Service and communities,” he said, at a flag-raising ceremony at headquarters. “We will amplify the voices of those who need support and inspire others to do the same. In doing so, we remind anyone who may be suffering in silence that they are not alone.”
Demkiw said the Service can change the way in which it understands and approaches mental health and how support can be given to each other despite the fact that it cannot change the difficult and sometimes dangerous nature of the work that uniformed members do to keep the city safe.
“I encourage everyone to take some time to reflect on what they can do and ask themselves, ‘In what ways can I create positive changes to better support my mental health and the mental health of others?’ And then look for ways to take action.”
Toronto Police Services Board Interim Chair Ainsworth Morgan said mental health and psychological wellness must be a corporate priority.
“We must ensure that we continue to provide our members with comprehensive and ongoing psychological assistance and, most importantly, the tools and resources they need to most effectively deal with significant workplace and personal challenges,” he added. “We know that the issue of stigma remains a concern for our organization. It is critical that we continue to work to normalize conversations about mental health. It is also critical that we ensure that we create and maintain a truly safe space for people to discuss these issues openly and honestly without fear of being negatively labelled, dismissed or ostracized.”
Toronto Police Association Vice-President Brian Callahan said mental health and the wellbeing of members is more important than ever.
“Each day they report for work, often under very challenging circumstances, and do what needs to be done to keep our communities safe,” he said, noting the pandemic and the targeting police officers by violent offenders have all added stress to the work being done each day. “The last few years have been even more difficult.”
Callahan said the TPA will continue to contribute and advocate for the best support and services available.