Championing Mental Health

By Ron Fanfair

Ron Fanfair


Office of the Chief


Lanie Schachter-Snipper, the head of Mental Health & Wellbeing at Toronto Police Service, is the recipient of this year’s Canada Beyond the Blue Champions of Change Leadership Award.

Chief Myron Demkiw made the presentation at this year’s gala for the charitable organization that strengthens and supports police service members, both uniform and civilian, and their families.

As the first Mental health Lead at Canada’s largest municipal service, Schachter-Snipper is responsible for developing and implementing a holistic mental health strategy for the over 8,000 uniform and civilian members.

The registered psychotherapist noted the best leaders walk the talk, which is what Toronto Police is doing.

“There are many organizations that say they really care about mental health, but have not yet demonstrated that through dedicated resources to their people and programs,” she said. “What we are seeing at Toronto Police is that there is true dedication, fiscal and otherwise, to improving the well-being of Service members and that is extremely meaningful.”

Schachter-Snipper, who joined the Service in April 2022, said the award is also for the organization’s visionary leaders and the Toronto Police Services Board.

“I also accept the award on behalf of my TPS team, the Mental Health & Wellbeing Section who are on the frontlines making meaningful change for members every day,” she said, thanking Beyond the Blue for recognizing the importance of police mental health.

Ontario’s Chief Justice Michael Tulloch, the province’s Solicitor General Michael Kerzner and several Ontario Police Chiefs attended the gala.

“The attendance of so many police leaders is a true testament to the impact that Beyond the Blue Canada is having on the advancement of mental health and well-being initiatives within policing,” said Chief Demkiw. “While members of Beyond the Blue Canada continue to be an invaluable resource for police leaders, they also remain laser-focused on providing hope to police officers and their families, For this, I am truly grateful for the work of everyone at Beyond the Blue Canada and all their chapters.”

Chief Demkiw said the gala was another example of creating awareness that due to the nature of their work, Service members are at greater risk of experiencing operational stress injuries.

“Police officers choose to put the needs of others, of strangers, above themselves. As officers, we give so much of ourselves to this profession and we are trained to be unshakable,” Demkiw said. “But to me, bravery is not just putting your life at risk to help others. Bravery is acknowledging that you need help, and in your darkest moments that you reach out to someone for help.”

Group of people in formal wear standing together
Chief Myron Demkiw, Wellness Manager Ivy Nanayakkara, Lanie Schachter-Snipper, CAO Svina Dhaliwal, Deputy Chief Rob Johnson

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