New North Battleford, Sask. PACT to help RCMP with mental health crisis calls

Two men are wanted by police after an alleged staged accident where a concerned motorist stopped to help only to be assaulted and robbed on Highway #21. File / Global News

A new Police and Crisis Team (PACT) has been launched in North Battleford, Sask., to de-escalate mental health crisis situations.

PACT will pair professionals from the Saskatchewan Health Authority with RCMP officers, creating a mobile team to provide the right kind of care to people, and reduce pressure on hospital emergency departments.

READ MORE: Dedicated mental health team operating in Prince Albert, Sask.

“There is much more to community safety than just having the police enforce laws and make arrests,” RCMP PACT co-ordinator Sgt. Pernell St. Pierre said in a press release.

“Working in partnership with mental health professionals provides us with an opportunity to address some of the issues associated with public safety before they result in criminal activity.”

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WATCH BELOW: Coverage of PACTs in Saskatchewan

Government officials said PACTs in Saskatoon and Regina are already making a difference.

“By dealing with these situations more effectively, we can avoid emergency department visits and free up officers to focus on other priority areas,” corrections and policing legislative secretary Herb Cox said in a press release.

READ MORE: Saskatoon police share results of dedicated mental health team

The federal government announced in January 2017 it’s providing Saskatchewan with nearly $350 million over a decade for investments in home and community care as well as mental health and addiction services. Through the Canada-Saskatchewan Bilateral Funding Agreement, $980,000 is being invested in 2018-19 for new PACT programs.

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New units were recently launched in Prince Albert and Moose Jaw. A sixth PACT in Yorkton is expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate help. The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, Depression Hurts and Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868 all offer ways of getting help if you, or someone you know, may be suffering from mental health issues. If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse or is involved in an abusive situation, please visit the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime for help. They are also reachable toll-free at 1-877-232-2610.

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