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Senior RCMP officer shares his story to reduce stigma around mental illness

Last Updated May 19, 2015 at 8:53 am PST

Assistant RCMP Commissioner Gilles Moreau (Courtesy ridedonthide.com)
Summary

Gilles Moreau wants people to be more understanding, accepting of the one in five Canadians who deal with mental illness

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – One of the Mounties’ most senior officers is opening up about his struggles with depression and thoughts of suicide, hoping to inspire others to talk about mental health issues.

Assistant RCMP Commissioner Gilles Moreau wants people to be more understanding and accepting of the one in five Canadians who deal with mental illnesses.

Early in his career, when Moreau was at his lowest point, he contemplated taking his own life.

“It’s only because my daughter needed me at that time in her life — because she had mental health issues as well — that I did not go through with it.”

After his peers noticed his troubles, Moreau got help and has managed to gain back his mental health. He now works to change the climate within the RCMP, to help reduce stigma around mental illness and to ensure all officers feel supported in their mental health.

“Because of our policing culture, where everyone has to be strong, what I’m trying to do is break down that barrier and basically say that we are all human beings. Underneath these red tunics, the Red Serge, we are human beings first,” says Moreau.

The assistant commissioner is now the RCMP’s main advocate for mental health issues and makes a point of telling everyone — not just people within the organization, but the public as well — how important it is to be aware of your mental health and seek help when you might need it.

“You know we are all very good at getting our car serviced — every spring, every fall — but we should all be in at least once or twice a year to get a mental health check-up.”

The RCMP has partnered with the Canadian Mental Health Association to promote Ride Don’t Hide, a national bike ride next month to support mental health.