The Hamilton Spectator (June 29): Mental health-police partnership starting in Haldimand County

Haldimand County OPP is launching its own Mobile Crisis Rapid Response Team in partnership with Community Addiction and Mental Health Services of Haldimand and Norfolk (CAMHS).

The team pairs a specially trained police officer with a mental-health crisis worker to respond to people in mental-health or addiction crisis in the community.

The team is modelled after the first Mobile Crisis Rapid Response Team launched in Hamilton in 2013, which paired trained police officers with mental-health professionals from St. Joseph's Healthcare.

Since then, other police services, including Halton and now Ontario Provincial Police have followed.

"With a better understanding of those who suffer with mental illness, we can quickly identify the issues during an emergency call and de-escalate the situation," said Haldimand OPP Insp. Phil Carter. "We can safely prevent a person from doing harm to themselves or to others and get them into the appropriate care."

CAMHS CEO Nancy Candy-Harding said the new unit will be able to respond to people of all ages, showing symptoms of mental illness, substance abuse, behavioural disorders, or people in acute crisis situations. When possible they will divert people from hospital and refer to community supports.

In Hamilton, the MCRRT has led to reduced emergency department wait times.

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