WINDSOR, ON - Beginning today, a new initiative from Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare (HDGH) and the Windsor Police Service (WPS) will assist City of Windsor residents in a mental health and addiction-related crisis. The Mobile Crisis Rapid Respond Team, or MCRRT, pairs a trained HDGH mental health social worker with a frontline police officer to provide a health response to a health problem in real-time. The MCRRT will be at the forefront of responding to mental health related calls from persons in crisis diverting from hospitals, primarily emergency departments as well as the justice system.
“The Mobile Crisis Rapid Response Team will bring a compassionate response through an important partnership within two systems - healthcare and the justice system. When responding to a call, the focus will be on de-escalation, stabilization, providing counselling and then hopefully an ongoing connection to further community supports should the individual be willing,” said Dr. Sonja Grbevski, HDGH Vice President of Mental Health and Addictions.
The number of mental health related calls received by Windsor Police has steadily increased over years. The MCRRT’s two units will operate Monday to Friday from 9:00 am – 10:00 p.m. The teams will consist of the same two officers and mental health social workers all specially trained in crisis intervention.
New base funding was received by HDGH to operationalize Windsor’s MCRRT Units through Roadmap to Wellness, Ontario’s plan to build a comprehensive and connected mental health and addiction system. The province announced in November that it would fund the expansion of rapid response teams across Ontario. Solicitor General Sylvia Jones also stating then that 911 calls related to mental health issues have soared 45 percent during the pandemic while new reports from the Canadian Mental Health Association are showing alarming trends in mental health across Ontario.
“This is a transformative change for our community. Providing service delivery that prioritizes mental health and addiction supports can only be done within a framework of collaboration. Responding together means we can connect individuals with the care they need from the subject matter experts who provide such care. We are thankful for this opportunity and thankful to have this continued partnership," said Chief Pamela Mizuno.
The two organizations are currently partnered through the Community Outreach and Support Team (COAST) that consists of a plain-clothed officer and mental health social worker that conducts mental health and risk assessments but is NOT as a live response team.
In partnership with the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), HDGH operates a MCRRT team covering the county geography as well as a Youth Crisis Response Team that responds to emergency mental health calls of youth up to the age of 16.