Saturday, August 13, 2022

Toronto launches crisis response project without police in downtown east and northeast | Nation World News

Toronto plans to launch pilot projects in two areas of the city where mental health experts will respond instead of police to calls involving people in crisis.

The new Toronto Community Crisis Service will begin in the eastern and northeastern city center. The city has partnered with community agencies to offer the service. Mayor John Tory said Tuesday the launch of the pilot projects represents “real change.”

“In many cases, and this was a shortcoming we are correcting today, the reason why the police went was because there was no one else to go,” Tory said.

“And when people were in crisis, someone had to come to provide them with support and help and to help their families and their neighbors,” he added. “It’s through the community, from the community, from the community.”

The move comes after a series of highly publicized deaths in the Greater Toronto area following police encounters with people who were in the midst of mental health crises, including Ejaz Choudry, D’Andre Campbell and Regis Korchinski-Paquet.

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The service will:

  • Features mobile multidisciplinary teams of trained crisis support specialists, such as community health nurses, crisis counselors, harm reduction workers and peers.
  • Initially work 24 hours a day, six days a week, Sunday to Friday, and move to 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Provide case management support, including follow-up support, primary health care, referrals, holistic support, and trauma counseling.

The Gerstein Crisis Center will lead the downtown east pilot from March 31, while TAIBU Community Health Center will lead the northeast pilot from April 4. The Canadian Mental Health Association and 2-Spirited People of the 1st Nations will lead the northwest and downtown western pilots starting in July.

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In a news release on Tuesday, the city said: “The new service, which is person-centered and trauma-informed, focuses on harm reduction. It will be geographically based and operate in areas of Toronto where there is a demonstrated need and calls for people in crisis. is the highest. ”

Once the pilots are launched, residents can reach the new service by calling 911.

A process is in place with the Toronto Police Service, Findhelp and 211 Central to send and send calls as appropriate to the mobile teams and link callers to follow-up support.

Toronto residents experiencing or witnessing an emergency should continue to call 911 for themselves, loved ones, neighbors or others, the city said.

“The pilots will allow the City of Toronto to test, evaluate and review a non-police-led crisis response before it is implemented on a larger scale,” the city said.

Nation World News Desk
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