It is suicide prevention month. What better time to remember that our friends, neighbours, co-workers, and family members may be fighting a dark and deeply personal battle. Canada’s public safety personnel (PSP) regularly face traumatic events and potentially dangerous situations. I hear a news story about a car accident, a fire, a death while in custody, and I think “oh how tragic. ” I think of that person and their family. Too often we forget the people who are the first on the scene; the officer who informs a family member; the communications official who took the call; the corrections worker who discovers a tragedy; or the border official who witnesses desperation. I can’t even begin to imagine the experiences or the emotional burdens our PSP face. Suicide prevention month presents a perfect opportunity to remember the people who serve our country and keep us safe.
While I worked as a crisis worker in Ontario, I spent countless hours supporting individuals on the phone and in-person while they navigated their darkest moments. With all my experience, the one thing I can say with certainty is that someone cares – someone always cares – even when you feel like you are alone. CIPSRT cares. We care about the people that keep us safe. We know there are research and knowledge gaps surrounding PSP mental health, PTSD, and treatment. We want all PSP and their families to know we care. We are working to be the voice of the issue. We work tirelessly to disseminate research, to deliver mental readiness training, and provide innovative treatment programs like ICBT. Our goal is to improve the lifetime wellness of Canadian public safety personnel, their leadership, and their families. It’s important to you that you and your loved ones are safe, and it is important to CIPSRT as well.
This suicide prevention month, let’s remember the vital role our public safety personnel play in our daily lives. Let’s remember that sometimes, public safety personnel need our support too! Help CIPSRT address PSP wellness. Check out our mental health FAQ’s or complete a self-assessment to check-in with your mental health.
Katie Schutz is the Community Engagement and Events Coordinator at the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment. Katie has a Master’s Degree in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership from Carleton University. Katie has supported individuals in crisis for over 10 years. She is a former member of Crisis Workers of Ontario working for Addictions and Mental Health Services-KFLA.