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Progress update for Ottawa Police and Ottawa Hospital launch of new mobile response team

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 9:25 am

(Ottawa)—The Ottawa Police Service, in partnership with the Ottawa Hospital, implemented a pilot program in July 2012 to deal with mental health calls in the downtown area. The program consists of resident psychiatrists working along with police officers from the Mobile Crisis Team (MCT).

Since its inception, MCT officers and psychiatrists have worked together over 25 days during the last two months. The teams dealt with approximately 65calls. Of those, only five resulted in an apprehension, where the subject had to be taken to hospital for assessment.

The mobile response team can also deal with Mental Health Act apprehension orders immediately, saving countless hours of wait times at hospitals and allowing officers to return to regular patrol duties sooner. As well, the team doctors can issue prescriptions and/or follow up appointments and provide other resources to assist subjects.

"We are pleased with the results of the project so far," said Staff Sergeant Dana Reynolds, who is in charge of the Ottawa Police Mobile Crisis Team (MCT). "Being able to respond to calls as they are actually happening has a dramatic impact on the outcome of these incidents. We hope to increase opportunities to use the mobile team as the project progresses."

Here is an example of a call the team has handled: Police responded to a call regarding a barricaded person. The subject involved appeared to suffer from a mental illness. The MTC attended with a doctor. The doctor, who was familiar with the man, knew his medical history. Because of that knowledge, the doctor was able to talk the man out without incident.

A typical barricaded person call can take hours to resolve. This call was dealt in about one hour.

The mobile response program will be in place for one year.

Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) is September 30 – October 6, 2012.


Media Relations Section
Tel: 613-236-1222, ext. 5366


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, July 10, 2012 9:52 am

Ottawa Police and Ottawa Hospital launch new mobile response unit

(Ottawa) — A new pilot project between the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) and The Ottawa Hospital (TOH) is seeking to assist people dealing with mental health issues when they come in contact with police by getting them the help and attention they need more rapidly.

The program teams University of Ottawa psychiatry residents or a TOH staff psychiatrist with the OPS Mental Health Unit to work up to three afternoon shifts a week in the downtown core. The program has been running since July 3rd.

“This team responds to mental health related calls, including Mental Health Act (MHA) forms and calls requiring possible MHA apprehensions,” said Staff Sergeant Dana Reynolds of the OPS Mental Health Unit. “It allows the psychiatrist to access all medical history on site, provide a quick assessment, and decide whether an apprehension is warranted or to provide appropriate follow up services to the person at the scene.”

It is estimated that 1 in 20 police dispatches or encounters involve people with mental health related issues. By working together, OPS and TOH are trying to make the response to mental health calls by police more positive for the individual.

“This approach in dealing with some mental health calls is something that we see can be a huge benefit to people experiencing mental health issues,” said Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau.

Studies on the subject of mental health and policing recommend enhanced training of front line police officers as an element of the strategy to improve service to persons who appear to be suffering from a mental illness. Through training and partnership, this project builds stronger linkages between the police and the mental health community and supports police officers and people suffering from mental health problems.

The Ottawa Police MHU consists of four Constables and one Sergeant have been working in partnership with The Ottawa Hospital Mobile Crisis Team (MCT) since 2004. The Mental Health- Unit and TOH continue to provide specialized mental health training sessions to OPS members as well as outside agencies, including Corrections, and Probation/Parole on mental illness and risk assessment tools. So far this has included:
• Ottawa Police MHU hosted the 2012 Police/Mental Health liaison round table on special populations (February 1-2, 2012)
• Over 90 Ottawa Police front line patrol officers have been given this specialized training since 2010. MHU holds two sessions of this training a year to OPS members.

The above noted initiatives have been identified directly or indirectly as priorities in the National Strategy on Mental Health (Changing Directions, Changing Lives: The Mental Health Strategy for Canada) released in May 2012.

Backgrounder – Ottawa Police Service Mental Health Unit (MHU):
The Ottawa Police Service Mental Health Unit (MHU) responds to calls related to mental health issues, by linking members of the public with community resources and support systems, during and following a crisis; assisting front line officers with cases that fall under the Mental Health Act (MHA); working with community partners in mental health networks to identify and resolve community issues and managing MHA forms (1, 2, 3, and others as necessary).

Backgrounder – The Ottawa Hospital Mobile Crisis Team (MCT):
The Ottawa Hospital Mobile Crisis Team (MCT), a team comprised of social workers and nurses trained in mental health, also has a consulting psychiatrist, Dr. Peter Boyles, who is available to go out on mobile assessments in the community. Also, this team holds bi-weekly case conference meetings at The Ottawa Hospital with MHU officers, a nurse, social workers and psychiatrists where case files and priority occurrence reports are reviewed and plans implemented including home visits with Ottawa Police and the doctor.

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Media Relations Section
Tel: 613-236-1222, ext. 5366

Ottawa Police Service/Service de police d'ottawa