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Ontario panel recommends new gov't body to track officer suicides

A coroner's panel reviewing the suicides of nine Ontario police officers last year has issued new recommendations designed to help improve the mental health of first responders across the province.

The panel convened by the Office of the Chief Coroner has recommended launching a government body to initiate and report on an urgent and comprehensive plan in Ontario to address the mental health of officers.

The panel said risk factors such as depression combined with a stressful life event, or overwhelming events related to work, or stress from other factors were evident in all nine officers before their suicides.

It said a few issues stood out among the suicides, including lost or diminished access to timely and quality care and effective treatment services.

The panel also recommended the coroner review every officer suicide and begin tracking data related to the suicides of all first responders.

The coroner launched a review of police suicides after noticing a spike in officers killing themselves in 2018. New York City and Chicago are also dealing with an unusually high number of officer suicides this year.

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