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Mobile Crisis Rapid Response Team – a first for Ontario

July 17, 2014

There are signs that police forces across Ontario are trying to work to better respond to individuals who are experiencing a mental health crisis.

Earlier in 2014, the Toronto Police Service expanded its Mobile Crisis Intervention Team (MCIT) Program to cover a wider part of the city. Hamilton, Halton, Niagara and Peel regions also have Crisis Outreach and Support Teams (COAST) which are similar to MCITs. More recently, Hamilton Police Services released preliminary results of a new pilot Mobile Crisis Rapid Response Team (RRT).

What is the difference between these models?

Mobile Crisis Intervention Team

Crisis Outreach and Support Team

Mobile Crisis Rapid Response Team

  • Uniformed police officer and mental health nurse
  • Secondary Response team
  • Program
  • Toronto
  • Plain-clothed police officer and mental health professional (nurse, social worker, child and youth crisis worker, mental health worker)
  • Secondary Response team
  • Program
  • Hamilton, Halton, Niagara, Peel
  • Police officer and mental health professional
  • First response team
  • Pilot project
  • Hamilton

The key is that the Mobile Crisis Rapid Response Team (RRT), which is currently being piloted, aims to get mental health professionals on site faster than if they were part of a secondary response team. This frees up valuable police officer time – nearly 580 hours of saved police officer time per year to be exact – that can be spent on other calls.

The key is that the Mobile Crisis Rapid Response Team (RRT), which is currently being piloted, aims to get mental health professionals on site faster than if they were part of a secondary response team.

The pilot project in Hamilton has been running since November 2013 and has so far shown a 43 percent reduction in the number of apprehensions being made by the RRT. This is because individuals are being referred to the appropriate services and care.  Given the success of this pilot project, communities are beginning to look at adopting this model in other areas and the Hamilton Police Service and St. Josephs Healthcare hope to make the project a permanent program by 2015.

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