Monday is World Suicide Prevention Day, and Peterborough has an innovative local outreach program that is credited with getting help for people.
The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) estimates one in five Canadians will personally experience a mental health problem or illness in their lifetime.
In 2017, an innovative partnership was formed in Peterborough between the local CMHA and Peterborough County OPP.
The Mobile Crisis Intervention Team consists of Cst. Scott Thompson and mental health worker Andrew Reynolds.
“What we do with our program is review all the calls for service that come into the detachment with a focus on calls for mental health,” Thompson said.
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Thompson and Reynolds work together three days a week. A lot of their time is spent on the road, following up with people who have made a mental health call into the detachment.
As of Sept. 10, Peterborough County OPP has had 114 calls for service for mental health.
This summer, the Mobile Crisis Intervention Team reached out to 70 of those people.
“We connected many of them to local services that fit their goals and needs,” Reynolds said. “We’ve had positive feedback from clients themselves and other service providers.”
Many OPP detachments and police services have similar programs.
While police are responding to mental health calls, they’re also trying to raise awareness.
“We are trying to facilitate more conversation around mental health,” Thompson said. “It’s important for us to make people aware that we are out there and this program exists and we want to have more conversations.”
If anyone is experiencing a mental health crisis, the team encourages them to call Four County Crisis at 705-745-6484 or at 1-866-995-9933.
It’s free, confidential and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.