A landmark review has slammed the “suck it up” approach to mental health among police.

A review commissioned last year by Victoria’s Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton says Victoria Police management have created a culture that discourages officers from seeking help for mental distress.

There have been three suicides by Victoria Police officers since the review commenced in November 2015, and 23 among employees since 2000.

Five officers died in the line of duty in the same period.

The management style of police leadership has left workers fearful of consequences if they admit to mental distress, with senior police exerting a “suck it up” attitude to mental trauma.

The review found Victoria Police maintained widespread and entrenched stigma around mental illness.

It created reluctance to seek help and meant that the warning signs for officers were ignored.

The report made 39 recommendations – calling for change in the very basis of police leadership culture, force-wide compulsory mental health training, early intervention programs, screening of retirees, and more on-going support.

Chief Commissioner Ashton said he would implement the recommendations.

“I am heartened by the authors' strong belief that if we enact the plan laid out for us, we can significantly improve the wellbeing of our entire organisation,” he said.

“But the findings leave no doubt that we have a lot of work to do. As an organisation we must fundamentally change the way we view mental health.

“We need to build a culture that better understands mental health. A culture in which our employees feel safe to ask for help without fear of judgement or prejudice.”