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HomeCANADAY Media Exclusive: Crisis workers can now respond to mental health calls...

Y Media Exclusive: Crisis workers can now respond to mental health calls reported to Peel Regional Police that do not require a police response

New pilot project adds a critical component to crisis response in Peel

A new pilot project that will add a critical component to our existing crisis response services in Peel Region was formally launched.

Individuals who call Peel Regional Police because they are experiencing a crisis, can now receive support from trained crisis workers, rather than from police officers. Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Peel Dufferin, Punjabi Community Health Services (PCHS), Roots Community Services, and the Peel Regional Police, have been working together to implement this important initiative.

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“The goal is to have a mental health response to a mental health call. The intention is to reduce stigma and the criminalization of mental health and addictions. By offering appropriate clinical interventions and connection to resources in the community, we will help reduce emergency room utilization and free up officers for appropriate police calls,” said David Smith, CEO, CMHA Peel Dufferin.

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The pilot project will dispatch a team of two crisis workers to respond to calls reported to Peel Regional Police that involve mental health or addictions and do not require a police response. The team will operate 12 hours per day, seven days per week.

The team of crisis workers in the pilot will be built with employees from CMHA Peel Dufferin, PCHS (supporting the South Asian community) and Roots Community Services (supporting the Black and Caribbean community). This staffing is consistent with the diverse teams that project partners already employ and represents those we serve. Members from these teams would ensure follow-up, if necessary, in the days after the initial call.

The team will be equipped with the training and tools to safely de-escalate crisis situations and refer individuals to necessary community mental health supports and services.

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“Mental health matters, and our government supports providing the appropriate mental health or addictions response in crisis situations.” said Solicitor General Kerzner. “I applaud the collaboration between CMHA Peel Dufferin, Peel Regional Police, Punjabi Community Health Services, and Roots Community Services to deliver real-time, culturally-appropriate, crisis response resources. We must continue to work together to develop innovative and effective approaches to keep Ontario safe.”

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“To help ensure appropriate community resources are provided, Peel Regional Police will also embed a third crisis worker in our communications centre to provide support, education and an immediate response to callers inquiring or requesting a mental health or addictions response,” said Chief Nishan Duraiappah, Peel Regional Police. “This program reinforces our commitment to multi-system approach to Community Safety and Well-Being. We are grateful to collaborate with these invaluable partners to support mental health in our community.”

“Punjabi Community Health Services is a proud partner with CMHA Peel Dufferin on several mental health projects. Together we are looking at providing culturally competent services to diverse communities. It has become evident that the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted inequities in healthcare, and these organizations are joining hands to address them,” said Baldev Mutta, CEO, PCHS.

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“We are excited for Roots Community Services to be involved in this important pilot with our partners. As an organization that focuses on the Black, African and Caribbean communities, we see this pilot as a critical response that will help to address the issue of individuals who need mental health supports in our community,” said Angela Carter, Executive Director, Roots Community Services.

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About CMHA Peel Dufferin 

Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Peel Dufferin Branch offers services to people experiencing challenges in addictions and mental health, those in crisis, those navigating the court systems, people who are homeless or facing imminent homelessness, and family and caregivers. www.cmhapeeldufferin.ca.

CMHA Peel Dufferin champions good mental health for everyone and supports the full participation of those with mental illness and addictions in the life of the community.

About Punjabi Community Health Services

PCHS provides culturally informed services to improve the well-being of individuals, families and communities using an anti-racism and anti-oppression framework. There are programs and services to support clients experiencing addictions, mental health, domestic violence, parenting, elder care, and concerns about the newcomer settlement. www.pchs4u.com.

PCHS has several research studies to its credit and is recognized as an innovative organization for community development and its Integrated Holistic Service Delivery Model.

About Roots Community Services

Roots Community Services provides culturally-relevant programs and services to inspire residents in the Regions of Peel and Halton, primarily from the Black and Caribbean communities, to make positive changes in their lives and within their communities. This includes mental health, addiction and a support line to assist clients experiencing daily challenges.

About Peel Regional Police

Peel Regional Police is Canada’s third largest municipal police agency serving nearly 1.4 million people in the City of Brampton and the City of Mississauga. We are committed to the safety and well-being of the communities we serve through the delivery of exemplary frontline policing and investigative services and by working collaboratively with our partners to help people receive the supports they need. Ensuring a timely, collaborative approach to respond to the needs of those experiencing a mental health crisis is a key priority for our Service.

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