Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Grey Bruce Branch and the Owen Sound Police Service have partnered on a new initiative that will provide better response and care for people experiencing a mental health crisis in Owen Sound.
Launched Tuesday, the Mobile Mental Health and Addiction Response Team (MMHART) is a new mobile crisis intervention program that will consist of CMHA mental health workers embedded with the police. Under this new program, a mental health professional will accompany plain-clothed police officers on mental health calls for service and can help police de-escalate situations, determine whether there’s a need to apprehend someone under the Mental Health Act or divert an individual to community-based mental health supports. Through MMHART, the CMHA worker will be able to assess the individual right on scene, offer assistance, provide referrals and even accompany the individual to the hospital if necessary.
“The MMHART program is a huge step forward for our community that enables both CMHA and the Owen Sound Police Service to provide the best possible response to an individual in crisis,” said CMHA Grey Bruce CEO Clark MacFarlane. “Our mental health worker will be able to evaluate a crisis in the moment and direct that individual to appropriate supports immediately.”
In addition to helping people in crisis find the right supports in a timely manner, having mental health workers alongside police will lead to fewer emergency room visits. This will free up hospital resources as well as officers’ time, since officers are required to remain with an individual apprehended under the Mental Health Act until transfer of custody to hospital occurs.
“Supporting people in mental health or addiction crisis with empathy, dignity and respect is a top priority for the Owen Sound Police Service,” said police chief Craig Ambrose. “This partnership with CMHA Grey Bruce will provide a healthier experience for individuals in crisis and their families, reduce apprehensions, and decrease use of hospital services and police resources. More efficient and effective access to community supports will ensure people who need mental health and addictions care can get it when and where they need it.”
- Almost half (49 per cent) of those who feel they have suffered from depression or anxiety have never gone to see a doctor about this problem.
- People with a mental illness are twice as likely to have a substance use problem compared to the general population. At least 20 per cent of people with a mental illness have a co-occurring substance use problem. For people with schizophrenia, the number may be as high as 50 per cent.
- The cost to house a person in the community with mental health supports is $72 per day, compared to $460 per day to house a person in jail or $485 per day in hospital.
About Canadian Mental Health Association, Grey Bruce Branch
At the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Grey Bruce Branch we cultivate hope, resilience and community for those who live with, and are impacted by, mental illness and/or addiction. We are driven by our values of compassion, dignity, inclusivity, integrity and choice. Our vision is to create an inclusive community inspiring hope, choice and well-being for all.
For more information, visit www.cmhagb.org.