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Canadian Mental Health Association Thunder Bay Integrated Mobile Police Assessment Crisis Team reports positive results.
May 16, 2023
64% of mental health calls diverted by collaborative crisis response team working with police and hospital partners
(THUNDER BAY, MAY 16, 2023) – A new report shows the impact of a police-community partnership in providing support for those experiencing a mental health crisis in Thunder Bay.
A two-year summary report by Lakehead University on the implementation and operation of the Integrated Mobile Police Assessment Crisis Team (IMPACT) shows that the program has successfully diverted 64 per cent of mental health calls received via 911 – which means that individuals in crisis were able to be treated in the community and were diverted from using costly hospital emergency department or correctional facility resources.
Report findings suggest that continued operation of the IMPACT program, a partnership between CMHA Thunder Bay, Thunder Bay Police Services and Thunder Bay Regional Health Science Centre, has the capacity to improve mental health crises response in Thunder Bay.
Other highlights of the report include:
- IMPACT addressed a total of 2,734 calls since launch on January 1, 2021.
- In 2022, the IMPACT program responded to 1,130 calls.
- 64 per cent of those calls were for mental health and were service users who were able to remain in the community, rather than attending costly services such as the emergency department.
- 55 per cent of those calls were considered hospital diversions, illustrating that IMPACT is doing what it is supposed to do.
- Approximately 13 per cent of year-two calls involved youth (individuals under the age of 18) which is consistent with findings from year one.
- In both years, 30 per cent of IMPACT service calls resulted in presentations to the hospital emergency department, while 3 per cent were taken to jail.
IMPACT units operate as a partnership, with one CMHA Thunder Bay crisis response staff working alongside a Thunder Bay Police Services officer. Implementation of the program has taken a phased approach to ensure service delivery is efficient and meeting the program objectives. This approach ensured that in the early stages it adapted to local service conditions and emerging partnership opportunities within the community to become a funded program under the Northwest-Local Health Integration Network (NW-LHIN).
IMPACT is one of CMHA Thunder Bay’s priority actions working with Thunder Bay Police Services and Thunder Bay Health Science Centre to support those who are vulnerable and at-risk through proactive mental health and addictions services and strategies in the community.
The full report can be found below