Friel seeks to high­light men­tal health is­sues

The Expositor (Brantford) - - NEWS - VIN­CENT BALL

Brant­ford Mayor Chris Friel is tak­ing a six-month leave from the Brant­ford po­lice ser­vices board to put the spot­light on post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der and men­tal health is­sues.

“I want to make sure that no one with men­tal health is­sues gets left be­hind or is stig­ma­tized,” Friel said. “I want to make sure that there are av­enues open to them to get the help they need when they’re ready to move for­ward.”

I want to make sure that no one with men­tal health is­sues gets left be­hind or is stig­ma­tized.” Mayor Chris Friel

As mayor, Friel is a mem­ber of the board that over­sees polic­ing in the com­mu­nity.

He said he is step­ping away from that role to en­able him to speak freely about post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der and men­tal health is­sues both gen­er­ally and in the work­place. If he had re­mained on the board, he said some peo­ple might as­sume that he is speak­ing only about the po­lice ser­vice.

He said that both the city’s po­lice ser­vice and the Brant­ford Po­lice As­so­ci­a­tion are pro­gres­sive in deal­ing with PTSD and men­tal health is­sues. The city is also tak­ing a pro­gres­sive ap­proach, he said.

City coun­cil­lors ap­proved the mayor’s leave from the po­lice board at spe­cial coun­cil meet­ing Tues­day night. Coun­cil­lors also voted to ap­point Ward 2 Coun. John Ut­ley to the board for six months.

Friel said he wants to make fund­ing for men­tal health and PTSD ser­vices a ma­jor topic of dis­cus­sion for the Min­istry of Labour, Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion and Min­istry of Health.

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