SHELBURNE — The Ontario government is improving public safety and supports for people in crisis by investing more than $4 million over two years to expand Mobile Crisis Response Teams. Police services in 28 communities will receive grant funding to increase their capacity to respond to calls from individuals experiencing a mental health or addictions crisis. The investment will enable police services to add mental health and addictions crisis workers to existing Mobile Crisis Response Teams and help ensure these specialized resources are available where and when needed.
“Mobile Crisis Response Teams are best positioned to respond to people experiencing a mental health or addictions crisis and to de-escalate situations that could pose a risk to public safety,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. “At a time when police are increasingly confronted with the need to assist vulnerable people in acute crisis situations, this new grant program will expand their ability to deliver appropriate services and underlines our government’s commitment to public safety.”
Mobile Crisis Response Teams consist of police officers and crisis workers working together to respond to complex situations where mental health or addictions may be a factor. Supported by the police, crisis workers determine whether an individual in crisis should be sent to an emergency department for treatment and are equipped to provide connections to community programming and supports to address an individual’s physical and mental well-being over the longer term.
“Our government is investing in the safety of our dedicated women and men on the frontlines, while ensuring those in crisis have easier access to high-quality mental health supports, where and when they need them,” said Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Through this expansion of specialized resources, we are taking critical steps toward providing better supports for individuals living with mental health and addictions challenges, including supports to help reduce their interactions with police.”
The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) detachment in Dufferin County is among the 28 police services receiving grant funding. The detachment works in partnership with the Headwaters Health Care Centre to provide mobile crisis intervention and risk mitigation for mental health and addictions clients living in the community.
“Since 2017, the OPP has observed a 42 per cent increase in mental health-related calls for service. Responding to 911 calls in tandem means that police and crisis workers can ensure everyone is safe while also providing necessary mental health support to the individual in crisis,” said OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique. “On behalf of the OPP, I want to thank the Solicitor General and the Government of Ontario for this important and necessary investment in community safety and well-being.”
The Mobile Crisis Response Teams Enhancement Grant is part of Ontario’s Roadmap to Wellness to build Ontario’s mental health and addictions system and complements the government’s earlier commitments to protect people’s health and enhance mobile crisis intervention teams across the province to help build a province where all people feel safe and protected.