Two years after the launch of IMPACT, the Guelph Police Service and CMHA Waterloo Wellington continue to see encouraging results. Since 2015, the joint venture – short for Integrated Mobile Police and Crisis Team – has transformed the way mental health, addiction and crisis-related calls are handled, enabling specially-trained Mental Health Clinicians to attend calls alongside officers when requested. The goal of the program is to ensure that residents have better health outcomes by receiving the most appropriate community-based crisis response at the time of need, and the results are remarkable – diverting nearly 450 would-be emergency department visits in the last nine months alone.
“At CMHA, our mission is much like @gpsmedia’s mission: supporting people when they need it most.” An update on our IMPACT initiative, working to connect people to appropriate care in times of crisis: https://t.co/mQklQ2jW4v #BellLetsTalk pic.twitter.com/2LCfC7u0N2
— CMHA WW (@CMHAWW) January 31, 2018
“At CMHA, our mission is much like the Guelph Police Service’s mission: supporting people when they need it most,” says Brooke Young, Manager of IMPACT and Mental Health & Justice at CMHA WW. “Working alongside police, our team is able to engage with people who are really struggling and provide immediate intervention. We’re able to connect many people to appropriate care instead of sending them to an emergency room or a cell block.”
“Having CMHA’s clinicians working with our officers has been such a great partnership,” says Jeff DeRuyter, Chief of Guelph Police Service. “We know that often, the person on the other end of the call can be in significant distress, and so anything we can do to support them better in our response is something we take seriously.”
- CMHA WW marks successful first year of the IMPACT partnership with Wellington OPP and Guelph Police
- IMPACT program launch
From April to December of 2017, IMPACT responded to over 1,500 requests for service in Guelph, attending 549 live police calls – amounting to over two calls a day related to a mental health concern, addiction issue or crisis. Of those calls attended, over 80% were able to be resolved without involving a trip to the emergency department.
“This goes beyond just the people we serve,” says Fred Wagner, Executive Director of CMHA Waterloo Wellington. “Resolving crises in the community without requiring a trip to the emergency department is better for the person and also reduces the pressure on our police and hospital services.”