Toronto – A new resource provides the tools and information necessary to help communities implement Mobile Crisis Response Teams (MCRTs) and enhance crisis response across the province.
Mobile Crisis Response Teams: A Framework for Ontario and Tools for Developing Mobile Crisis Response Teams are designed to help police and health partners to collaborate with service providers in their communities. MCRTs are a police-led crisis response model, in which a police officer and a mental health worker respond together when police are called to respond to a person in crisis.
The intent of the framework is to support communities to establish different types of mobile crisis response team models, improve outcomes for individuals experiencing a mental health, addictions, neurodevelopmental and/or other crisis, and encourage consistent evaluation practices across the province.
Benefits of MCRTs include:
- Improving client outcomes by providing community assessment to determine links to appropriate community services
- Diverting individuals from unnecessary criminal justice system involvement and reduce pressures on the court and correctional systems
- Diverting individuals from unnecessary hospital emergency department visits and reduce pressures on the health care system
- Mitigating the impact on police resources in relation to mental health and addictions crisis response
- Improving individual and/or caregiver experiences
The resource was developed in partnership between the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Ontario and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), who co-chaired a provincial working group which included representation by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of the Solicitor General and has been supported by the Provincial Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee (P-HSJCC). As part of the development of this resource, the working group held extensive consultations with existing mobile crisis response models and other key stakeholders across the province.
“We know that the coordination between police services, hospitals and mental health and addictions organizations on a mobile crisis response team leads to an effective use of police and hospital resources within the community,” said Michael Kerzner, Solicitor General. “It’s important that these teams are composed and deployed in ways that are reflective of the risks and realities on the ground, to keep our communities safe. The MCRT Framework and Toolkit will help police collaborate with service providers in their communities.”
“Mobile crisis response teams are valuable and life-saving tools for local police, health care providers, and those experiencing a mental health or addictions crisis,” said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “We’ve seen successful models of these mobile teams across the province, and it’s encouraging that more communities can receive guidance about best practices as they implement a model that works for their residents to receive care closer to home.”
“Those experiencing a mental health crisis require an integrated, specialized, and holistic response. Ontario’s new Mobile Crisis Response Teams Framework and Toolkit allows mental health and addiction providers and police to integrate their services to provide a seamless continuum of care,” said Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “They are also an effective tool for reducing emergency department usage. Establishing this program and its recommended protocols and approaches will allow us to fill the gaps within the system while providing data to help inform how we leverage existing resources most effectively within hospital and community settings.”
“Police are called upon to respond to thousands of mental health calls a year,” said Thomas Carrique, OPP Commissioner. “Having officers and health partners work together decreases the impact on related policing and hospital resources, and means improved safety and better outcomes for everyone.”
“Supporting individuals experiencing a mental health or addictions crisis is complex and requires a tailored response that is built around the needs of each individual,” said Camille Quenneville, CEO of CMHA Ontario. “The MCRT Framework and Toolkit provides best practices that communities can adapt to create a mobile crisis response model which benefits the unique requirements of their population.”
“The framework and toolkit are invaluable tools to help police services and mental health and addictions providers address the system challenges that can arise when an individual is experiencing a crisis,” said Sara Dias and Joan Nandlal, Provincial HSJCC Co-chairs. “We’d like to thank all the members of the Mobile Crisis Response Teams Provincial Working Group and the P-HSJCC team for their advice and guidance in the development of these resources.”
About the Ontario Provincial Police
The Ontario Provincial Police is one of North America’s largest deployed police services with more than 5,500 uniform officers, 2,500 civilian employees and 600 auxiliary members. The OPP provides essential services that ensure the safety and security of the people and visitors to the province of Ontario.
About Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario
Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario is a not-for-profit, charitable organization funded by the provincial government. We work to improve the lives of all Ontarians through leadership, collaboration and continual pursuit of excellence in community-based mental health and addictions services. Our vision is a society that embraces and invests in the mental health of all people. We are a trusted advisor to government, contributing to health systems development through policy formulation and recommendations that promote positive mental health.
About the HSJCC Network
The Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee (HSJCC) is Ontario’s primary province-wide network that seeks to improve conditions for those who are justice-involved with complex human services needs. The HSJCC Network embodies a comprehensive and consistent approach, collaborating with all sectors by bringing them together with a common purpose. The Provincial HSJCC is a provincial planning body and leadership mechanism that supports the individual and collective efforts of regional and local committees. There are over 30 local committees and 14 regional committees who provide education and training for their members, coordinate care for justice-involved individuals and work to improve work to system issues. The HSJCCs are a cooperative effort of the Ministries of the Attorney General, Children, Community and Social Services, the Solicitor General, and Health.
For more information, contact:
Senior Strategist, Communications
Canadian Mental Health Association
Manager – Media Relations
Ontario Provincial Police