Victoria Police has teamed up with mental health organisation BeyondBlue to create support services tailored to police work.
Along with the Victorian Police Association, they will also look at rates of depression and suicide within the force.
Six Victorian police officers have taken their own lives over the past two years.
The Police Association’s Ron Iddles said the rate was no higher than the general population, but officers had raised concerns about the welfare of their colleagues.
“Our members have asked us to have a look at it, and we’ve partnered with BeyondBlue, and we’re working to develop a program that will be specifically tailored to police officers,” Mr Iddles said.
“One the issues is ex-police officers. They’re the ones from time to time fall through the cracks, because there’s no support for those people.”
Emotional survival expert from Canada to visit
Mr Iddles said international experts will help frame the new welfare model.
“Later this year, I’ve got a doctor coming out from Canada to look at emotional survival – in other words, looking after yourself,” he said.
“Parts of Canada are very proactive. Even New South Wales have been probably more proactive than what we have, but we’re learning from all that and we’ll implement some more programs.
But Mr Iddles said the culture around officers seeking help had improved.
“I think 20 years ago police were considered macho: If you went and got help back then it might have been considered that you’re weak, but I think we’ve changed a lot over the years,” he said.
Police Minister Kim Wells said better strategies are needed to look after current and former officers.
“Jeff Kennett, the chairman of BeyondBlue, has contacted me and we’ve had a discussion about concerns around police suicide,” Mr Wells said.
“There’ll be a series of meetings set up between my office and BeyondBlue to work out strategies with (Police Commissioner) Ken Lay and the Police Association so we can put good strong strategies in place to look after the welfare of Victoria Police.”