Tim Black instructs police, firefighters and first responders in trauma resilience on Monday, December 9, 2019. (Courtesy Saanich Police) Tim Black instructs police, firefighters and first responders in trauma resilience on Monday. (Saanich Police)

Vancouver Island police first in B.C. to offer mental health resiliency training

Departments from Oak Bay, Saanich, Central Saanich complete trauma training class

Oak Bay Police Department, Central Saanich Police Service, and the Saanich Police Department are the first police agencies in B.C. to receive training and resources to support mental health resilience.

The Saanich Police Department is partnering with Wounded Warriors Canada and Dr. Tim Black and Alex Sterling from the University of Victoria (UVic) to provide trauma resilience training to employees.

The Central Saanich Fire Department hosted the first class at the fire hall in Saanichton on Monday. Oak Bay Police, Central Saanich Police Services, Central Saanich Fire, Saanich Police, and first responders attended the class, that covered post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), mental health support, and employee wellness.

READ ALSO: Oak Bay police searching for missing man

Saanich police plans to share resources from Wounded Warriors Canada with staff, and consider referring members in need of support to the organization. Wounded Warriors is a national charity that provides mental health support programs for workplace-related trauma and operational stress injuries to veterans, first responders, and their families.

The training is seen by Saanich police as a key way to improve trauma resilience and the wellness of all staff exposed to psychological hazards at work. Police, firefighters, and first responders face work-related psychological trauma daily as they attend crash scenes and other psychologically challenging events.

The trauma and resilience training program is for professionals exposed to trauma at work. It is designed and delivered by Black and Sterling; a registered psychologist/Wounded Warriors Canada National Clinical Advisor, and a registered clinical counselor. Black is also an associate professor of Counselling Psychology and Sterling is the manager of Student Life, both at UVic.

Chief Constable Scott Green said the Saanich Police Department is “deeply committed” to the health and wellness of staff and providing them with the training and resources they need to serve the community.

“Through these types of strategic partnerships, we can better prepare our members to remain resilient in the face of adversity, ensure the safety of the public, and maintain our commitment to the highest standards of police service for our community,” Green said.

READ ALSO: UPDATED: Man arrested on Richmond Avenue after standoff with police following ‘serious assault’

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