Ottawa police launched a campaign aimed at increasing awareness about youth mental health issues yesterday.

Funded by the Department of Justice and done in collaboration with Ottawa’s Youth Net/Réseau Ado, the initiative makes resources and support available to police officers dealing directly with troubled young people, as well as the community.

“Child and youth mental health is everybody’s business,” said Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario’s chief of psychiatry, Dr. Simon Davidson. “Crime is everybody’s business. If we had comprehensive services for youth mental health, everyone would benefit.”

Resources need to be available to police, giving them the support needed to recognize and deal with the mental health issues encountered on the job, explained Davidson.

The collaboration addressed issues like depression, substance abuse, self-harm and suicide.

“Most of the people we deal with in crime have addictions or dual diagnosis issues,” said Ottawa police Chief Vern White. “It’s about giving the officers one more tool to deal with a serious problem they are going to face anyway.”

Fact sheets and a list of community support services are available at ementalhealth.ca and cmh.net.