A recent story out of London, England reported police officers’ frustration in finding an appropriate and secure mental health facility for a man in the midst of a mental health crisis. The officers live-tweeted their efforts over several hours and expressed their frustration with recent budget cuts to health services as the cause.
Many police units throughout Ontario are also often faced with inadequate mental health resources in the community. CMHA Ontario is actively engaged, through the HSJCC, in efforts to address these resource issues and facilitate systemic changes such as through the Police-ED transfer project.
The London story highlights the realities of front line workers dealing with mental health issues in the community. A lack of appropriate mental health services is often a contributing factor to an over-representation of people with mental health conditions in the criminal justice system. When police act as first responders to a mental health crisis, they must have access to suitable community services to facilitate care for the individual in crisis.