One step away from the police as default response to mental health crisis

Police arrests in mental health cases increase, 7 November

In 2011 and 2013, police chiefs in Ontario and Canada noted that police were the default response to 24/7 mental health crises in communities due to a lack of investments in community mental health and addictions services.

The problem still exists due to a persistent failure to invest in community crisis services, supportive housing, peer respite and stepped care.

The City of Toronto Crisis project is a good first step in bending the curve, as four community teams are funded to respond to crises and provide follow-up support for the next three years. It is also undergoing a rigorous evaluation, which will provide information on those diverted from police emergency calls as well as outcomes once services are provided.

(Hopefully) the provincial government can use this project and its findings to ensure that appropriate investments are made to reduce the need for police intervention.

Steve LurieCM, community Co-Chair, City of Toronto Crisis Project Advisory Table

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