ELGIN COUNTY, ON, March 22nd, 2021: The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Elgin-Middlesex, Elgin County Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and the Aylmer Police Service are pleased to announce a new collaborative initiative that will provide support to residents in Elgin County who are experiencing a mental health crisis. The newly formed Mobile Crisis Response Team (MCRT) is set to go into action today Monday March 22nd, 2021. Much like the Mobile Outreach Support Team (MOST) in St. Thomas, which is a partnership between the St. Thomas Police Service and CMHA Elgin-Middlesex, the MCRT will operate similarly and will respond to mental health calls for service in Elgin County and the Town of Aylmer. Funding and resources for the MCRT unit has been provided by CMHA Elgin-Middlesex and the two police services involved.
Brianne Geddis, Manager of Elgin Crisis Services and Crisis Call Diversion, CMHA Elgin-Middlesex, stated “By forming the Mobile Crisis Response Team, residents in the City of St. Thomas as well as residents of the Town of Aylmer and Elgin County can access mental health support when experiencing a crisis. The establishment of this Mobile Crisis Response Team is the result of identified needs in the community and continued collaboration between CMHA Elgin-Middlesex, the Elgin OPP and the Aylmer Police Service. We are excited to launch MRCT and support those in crisis across the region as well as help enhance service delivery from the police services involved.”
Nadine Ivankovic, a mental health crisis worker with CMHA Elgin-Middlesex, will be working closely with officers from the Elgin County OPP and the Aylmer Police service to respond to mental health calls for service. As part of the MCRT Team, Nadine will be working Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. She will work with the Elgin OPP on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and will work with the Aylmer Police Service on Wednesdays.
Nadine will work out of the two police stations, Elgin OPP and Aylmer Police, and will team up with a frontline police officer who has received training in responding to mental health crises. The MCRT team will respond to mental health calls for service as they are happening as well as conduct follow-up to provide support to those who may have had a mental health crisis outside of the MCRT’s team’s hours of operation.
“We are so pleased to be getting this off the ground and up and running. We recognize that mental health crisis’s do not just occur Monday – Friday 8am to 4pm and would like to expand that service when additional funding can be secured. MCRT leverages the partnership between an officer and a trained mental health and addictions crisis worker to de-escalate a situation and support individuals. The MCRT attempts to streamline access to mental health crisis supports in emergent situations, to help ensure that the needed level of care is accessible. MCRT also helps to reduce the number of unnecessary referrals to the emergency department.” Stated Acting Inspector Mike Butler of the Elgin County OPP.
“The MCRT will be a valuable resource to those experiencing or those who have had a mental health crisis. Nadine and the MCRT police officer will be able to provide immediate or follow-up support and a connection to additional support services. In fact, when an MCRT responds there is opportunity for the individual in crisis to be provided onsite de-escalation, support and referral to community supports where they may be diverted from costly emergency department visits on mental health apprehensions. This decreases costs to both the justice and health care system. It must be stated though that when appropriate and necessary for the safety and well-being of an individual, the police will take an individual to the hospital.” Stated Aylmer Police Chief Zvonko Horvat.
About the Elgin County Ontario Provincial Police (OPP)
The Elgin County OPP provides front line policing services to approximately 50 000 Elgin County residents encompassing six municipalities. The detachment is further active in providing policing services to a section of Highway 401 and marine operations on Lake Erie. Our Values are: Serving with pride professionalism and honour. Interacting with respect, compassion and fairness. Leading with integrity, honesty and courage. Elgin County OPP supports working collaboratively with community groups, agencies and stakeholders based on the provinces Community Mobilization and Engagement Model. For more information please visit: www.opp.ca
About the Aylmer Police service
The Aylmer Police Service provides front line policing services to approximately 7900 residents. The police service has a proud 133 year history of dedicated policing service delivery with a goal of providing the highest quality of service to our community and citizens. Aylmer Police Service takes great pride in continually evaluating our service’s structure, strategies, and programs to manage change related to community growth, crime trends, fiscal responsibility and the ever-evolving role of the police. For more information please visit: www.aylmerpolice.com
About Canadian Mental Health Association Elgin-Middlesex
The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Elgin-Middlesex provides community-based mental health services, housing supports, outreach and education through many locations across London, St. Thomas, Elgin county, Middlesex county, Strathroy, Exeter and Goderich. We promote mental wellness through responsive and innovative services and empower individuals on their recovery journey. For more information, please visit: www.cmhaelgin.ca or www.cmhamiddlesex.ca
(Photo – Left to Right: Aylmer Police Service Deputy Chief Nick, NOVACICH, Aylmer Police Service Chief Zvonko HORVAT, MCRT- CMHA Elgin-Middlesex Nadine IVANKOVIC, Elgin County OPP Acting Detachment Commander A/Insp. Mike BUTLER, Elgin County OPP Administrative Sergeant Jeff MCNORGAN)