In the weeks leading up to Ride Don’t Hide, CMHA Waterloo Wellington will bring you stories from riders and fundraisers about why mental health is important to them. Ride Don’t Hide is a national campaign hosted by the CMHA on Sunday, June 25th, bringing together over 10,000 participants in communities across the country with the goal to raise awareness and help break the stigma surrounding mental health while raising essential funds to support mental health programs. To join the ride or volunteer, visit our Ride Don’t Hide page.
When I made the decision to become a police officer, I knew I was in for a demanding career. I learned very quickly that every day would be different, that there would be routine calls and dangerous calls. I learned there would be traumatic events and heartwarming ones, and that I would meet people along the way who would change my life.
Most importantly, I learned that being a police officer is about more than just keeping community members safe. It’s about keeping them well. It’s about keeping them informed. And, it’s about letting them know that we are here to help when help is needed.
That’s why the Waterloo Regional Police Service makes mental wellness a top priority — not only for our members, but for every person living in our vibrant community. We have teamed up with mental health experts and have formed positive partnerships with health care professionals in our community to ensure those who are suffering receive the support they need. We have also trained our members on how to better deal with mental health calls, as well as identify and seek help for themselves when needed.
During my career, I have personally met many people who suffer daily with mental illness. I have seen many conditions worsen due to lack of treatment and many conditions improve thanks to community support and the availability of resources. We are very fortunate in Waterloo Region to have services and organizations that understand mental health and are able to successfully address and treat mental illness.
It is my hope, not just as Chief of Police, but as a community member, that people realize mental illness does not define them. Being vulnerable and needing help is not a weakness. Seeking help takes courage, strength, and perhaps most importantly, support from one another.
I am proud to support the Ride Don’t Hide campaign in the hopes we can – together – raise awareness and end the stigma surrounding mental health. I ask that you take the time to educate yourself and join in on this important cause. After all, riding for mental illness is much easier than hiding it.