The province is extending resources to individuals experiencing a mental health or addictions crisis by expanding the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Crisis Call Diversion Program in partnership with CMHA branches in Orillia and North Bay.
The OPP Crisis Call Diversion Program, announced earlier this year, is designed to help provincial police officers offer the most appropriate response to calls from individuals experiencing a mental health or addictions crisis by embedding professional mental health and addictions crisis workers into OPP Provincial Communications Centres. Once assigned to the call, a crisis worker can assist callers by providing resources and tools, offering referrals, and helping them navigate the mental health system. Alternatively, the crisis worker can provide support and assist in preliminary de-escalation when a call has been assigned to a police officer.
“When someone in a mental health crisis reaches out for help, the focus should always be on the most appropriate response. Putting mental health professionals in place to respond, as this model does, helps to ensure that the individual has the best outcome,” said Camille Quenneville, CEO, CMHA Ontario. “We can help those in crisis avoid unnecessary emergency department visits or, even more worrisome, engagement in the justice system. Using our skilled staff will help to make a positive outcome more of a certainty.”
The Crisis Call Diversion Program was developed and operated in partnership with CMHA branches in Thames Valley and Thunder Bay. The expansion in the Orillia and North Bay programs are being offered in partnership with the CMHA Simcoe County Branch and CMHA North Bay and District respectively.
Read the full news release for more information on the program.