Student rates

Junior high school student aims to raise awareness about RCMP mental health

A local junior high student started raising awareness about RCMP mental health and how the community can help.

Grade 9 student Jon Ruzsinszki of Crowther Memorial Junior High School (CMJHS) started the initiative after researching the RCMP as a potential career path.

“I’ve seen articles about mental health and the fact that the support isn’t very high, so I talked to my principal and a few teachers about it, they said it would be a good idea, so we put a plan in place… we got RCMP officers on board and we just raised awareness and funds for it,” Ruzsinszki explained.

Following his meetings with his principal and the district RCMP officer in charge of the school, Ruzsinszki set out to gain more community support and set up a way to spread the message.

“It’s more of an awareness campaign. We did a few things – we made an announcement over the intercom for the school (and) we did presentations in class,” he said. “(The RCMP officer) talked to the whole Strathmore detachment about it, apparently they all said it was a good idea and wanted to support it, so we had a few officers who were able to come.”

Investigating the subject, Ruzsinszki found that RCMP suicide rates were higher than the national average compared to regular civilians.

“I was looking at a lot of different stats and realized that the suicide rate for an officer, I think, was 17 in 100,000, whereas the normal (civilian rate) was 13 in 100,000,” Ruzsinszki said.

“It doesn’t seem like a big difference, but with the fact that we don’t have a lot of RCMP, that number is even just higher than the regular number of civilians and continues to increase (has an impact).”

Currently the plan to raise awareness across the school is to have regular announcements on the public address system and to set up a booth on certain days to build local awareness and provide a place to make donations.