Mobile Mental Health and Addiction Response Team in place in Owen Sound

CMHA Grey Bruce CEO Clark MacFarlane and Owen Sound Police Chief Craig Ambrose (Kirk Scott photo)

A new initiative in Owen Sound will help police deal with people in mental health crisis.

The Canadian Mental Health Association and Owen Sound Police are partnering in the program called the Mobile Mental Health and Addiction Response Team.

If a situation arises with a person in crisis or in need of care, a police officer can call in the team. A mental health professional and a plainclothes police officer would respond.

CMHA Grey Bruce CEO Clark MacFarlane said they’ll help de-escalate the situation and possibly divert the individual to appropriate mental health supports.

“It’s always best to intervene the sooner the better and in the most caring way possible,” said MacFarlane at a news conference introducing the program.

Owen Sound Police Chief Craig Ambrose said this new approach will free up police resources, decrease the use of hospital services, save money, and ensure people get the proper help they need.

“In the last couple of years there’s been a huge increase in calls involving mental illness or mental health issues and I think we had to look at it differently because we can’t keep doing things the way we are all the time, it’s not sustainable financially and it’s not sustainable for our officers and for the community,” said Ambrose.