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New mental health clinician to support Cranbrook RCMP calls

Cranbrook Daily Townsman - 2/11/2024

Cranbrook RCMP will be supported by an outreach liaison clinician for mental health and substance use calls, as part of a new community outreach model developed in partnership with Interior Health and the province.

"When people are experiencing a mental-health emergency and reach out to police, we need to take the right steps to provide them with the care they need to stay safe," said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. "With the creation of outreach liaison teams, more people in crisis will be met with appropriate care, and a clear path to the help they need."

The new service will help provide community outreach and education, while supporting mental health and substance use crisis where appropriate, using de-escalation and harm reduction approaches.

"These are health conditions that are stigmatized, complex and distressing to those experiencing them. Our ongoing priority with partners like the RCMP is to enhance mental health and substance use supports across the region to ensure people get the help they need during their most vulnerable moments," said Susan Brown, president and CEO of Interior Health.

The new community outreach model is the result of partner discussions, a review of the data around demand for service and an examination of current mental health and substance use resources for community crisis response in these communities.

"These specialized outreach liaison teams are the result of the continued efforts being made by Interior Health and RCMP joint committee in taking action on the mental health challenges our communities face by providing a crisis response service and support across the region to ensure that those in crisis get the help they need," said Chief Superintendent Brad Haugli, BC RCMP Southeast District Commander.

The new service will operate eight hours a day, five days a week in each community.

Cranbrook is one of four communities within Interior Health that will receive an outreach liaison, joining Nelson, Williams Lake and Trail.

However, those four communities do not see the same volume of interactions with individuals in crisis as Kamloops, Kelowna, Vernon and Penticton, which have established Mobile Integrated Crisis Response teams, according to Interior Health.

A joint committee between Interior Health and RCMP continues to meet and work together looking at services within the region to identify additional opportunities for crises response enhancement.