RCMP Sgt. Steve Woodcox. Bulletin file

RCMP Sgt. Steve Woodcox. Bulletin file

Kimberley RCMP seeing rise in mental health calls

More people are struggling as cost of living rises, RCMP Sgt. Woodcox says

One of the key objectives for the Kimberley RCMP for the 2021/22 fiscal year is mental health strategies with partner agencies.

Since his arrival in Kimberley as Detachment Commander, Sgt. Steve Woodcox, has wanted to be proactive around mental health issues. This includes working with Interior Health to have a mental health nurse attend with RCMP members on some mental health visits. The visits are not just for emergencies, but for wellness checks. Woodcox has reported to Council in the past year that this has allowed RCMP members to build relationships with people with ongoing issues.

READ: Kimberley RCMP report success with mental health initiative

When people call to talk to an officer when they are having a bad day, it can prevent things from escalating into a potentially violent situation, he told Council last year.

And in fact, mental health calls were down in 2021.

However, they have increased in the beginning of 2022, Woodcox told Kimberley Council when they received his policing report this week. The detachment received 23 calls in the fourth quarter, up considerably from 12 the previous quarter.

Woodcox says that a lot of the mental health calls they are getting are not necessarily from the chronic people that detachment members have had some success in making inroads with, but also from others undergoing problems.

“People have a lot of stressors right now,” Woodcox said. “The cost of living is going up. The increased calls are not from the chronic people we usually come across. That’s the trend right now.”

Coun. Jason McBain said that he knows there are a lot of people struggling right now, and that it was important that the RCMP continue their proactive approach. It was also important, he said, that those of us fortunate enough to be able to ride out rising costs, are aware that’s not the case for everyone.

“We must recognize that a lot of people are struggling,” he said.

Woodcox also said that people experiencing issues should not be afraid to contact police if they need help.

“Our role is to get help, and if that means taking them to mental health professionals who can give them the help they need, that’s what we do,” he said.

READ: Kimberley RCMP looking to take proactive approach to mental health issues



carolyn.grant@kimberleybulletin.com

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