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Kingston crisis workers, police teaming up to help those in need

Click to play video: 'Teaming-up to help those in need' Teaming-up to help those in need
WATCH: Kingston police are partnering with local addiction and mental health services to help those in need – Jun 19, 2019

The agency that handles addiction and mental health services in the Kingston area is rolling out a new front-line service.

It will pair crisis staff with police officers when they’re dispatched to mental health calls. The supervisor at Addiction and Mental Health Services – Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington, Karen Berti, says the new initiative is called a Crisis Outreach and Support Team.

WATCH: Former clients and employees of AMHS speak out about ‘dysfunction’ within the agency

Click to play video: 'Former clients and employees of AMHS speak out about ‘dysfunction’ within the agency' Former clients and employees of AMHS speak out about ‘dysfunction’ within the agency
Former clients and employees of AMHS speak out about ‘dysfunction’ within the agency – Apr 29, 2019

“Police get called, uniformed police officers in a police car and they’re going to be riding alongside our crisis worker that’s trained in addiction and mental health,” Berti explained.

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“The second mobile team will be more of a non-911 mobile crisis team whereby it’s a non-uniformed police officer in an unmarked car and they’ll also travel with one of your crisis workers.”

READ MORE: Provincial agency takes over Kingston Addiction and Mental Health Services due to mismanagement (Nov. 29, 2018)

Det. Sgt. Carla Stacey says Kingston police deal with a significant number of mental health calls and she’s looking forward to the partnership.

“Every time that we’re able to work with our community partners in mental health or in other areas of policing as well, it’s always been a better result in providing that service for our community,” Stacey said.

WATCH: 24-7 access to mental health supports and services

Click to play video: '24-7 access to mental health supports and services' 24-7 access to mental health supports and services
24-7 access to mental health supports and services – Jun 17, 2019

And that will be the focus for the two separate units that will eventually take to the streets. Both sides stress that the program still very much in the early stages, in fact the crisis out-reach support teams aren’t scheduled to start-up until fall of this year.

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