Toronto Police Service and Hospital Partners Move to Expand Mobile Crisis Intervention Teams
Broadcast time: 13:44
Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Unit: Corporate Communications
With support from the Toronto Police Services Board (TPSB), the Toronto Police Service (TPS) and its hospital partners are expanding the number of resources available to respond to mental health calls for service across the city.
Mobile Crisis Intervention Teams (MCIT), crisis care case managers, and Divisional Crisis Support Officers (DCSO) are all ways in which the TPS and its community partners will collectively be providing 24 hours a day, seven days a week response to people experiencing a mental health crisis.
"The Toronto Police Service, working with our partner hospitals, has developed a more comprehensive approach to providing the most appropriate response to people in crisis. Given the increase in the number of calls for service, these resources are needed now," said Deputy Chief of Police Peter Yuen. "Going from 10 teams to 13 teams, as well as the introduction of specially-trained officers at the unit level, will mean the Service is now in a position to offer 24-hour support to our communities."
Six hospitals collaborate with the TPS to create MCITs that service the entire city, with 60% of the calls being diverted from emergency room visits. With the addition of a second crisis care case manager working with COTA Health (Cota) in the Scarborough area, more people not in immediate need of crisis intervention will receive short-term follow-up and referrals to community support services. These services are often ethno-specific and has already been successful in the North York area of the city.
"Since its inception 20 years ago, the need for MCITs has only grown, especially as the global COVID-19 health crisis emerged last year. People are experiencing increased stress, anxiety, depression and social isolation," said Sarah Downey, president and CEO of Michael Garron Hospital. "MCIT provides a vital service to our community and we are proud to collaborate with Toronto Police Services and our partner hospitals to expand critical supports and resources for individuals experiencing mental health crises."
Full implementation of the enhanced resources is expected by June 2021.
The expanded services approved by the Police Services Board were included in this year’s budget process and are supported by a recent investment by Ontario Health and the provincial Solicitor General, announced last November. Offering a sustained approach to delivering a holistic mental health response requires long-term investment in all partners, not just policing.
Newly designed uniforms and vehicles for MCITs and the implementation of a crisis worker co-located at TPS Communications for diverting crisis calls not requiring a police response were also approved and are expected to be rolled out in summer 2021.
Created 20 years ago, MCITs now cover every division in the city and responded to more than 7,600 crisis calls for service in 2020. They are a collaborative team consisting of a police officer and nurse who have been specially trained in crisis response. Hospitals participating in the MCIT program are Humber River Hospital, Michael Garron Hospital, North York General Hospital, Scarborough Health Network, and Unity Health Toronto – St. Joseph Health Centre and St. Michael’s Hospital. The program also benefits from a partnership with Cota.
The TPSB and the TPS continue to move forward in implementing comprehensive police reform. This work flows from the Board’s 81 recommendations, approved in August 2020. These significant recommendations include building new community safety response models, initiatives to address systemic racism and concrete steps to improve trust with our communities. The components approved in the Service’s presentation today incorporate 12 of the 81 recommendations.
For more information, please contact Meaghan Gray, TPS Corporate Communications, at firstname.lastname@example.org or Leah Dunbar, Project Manager, Toronto Mobile Crisis Intervention Team Program, at email@example.com.
For more news, visit TPSnews.ca.
Meaghan Gray, Corporate Communications