Supports expanding for people in mental-health, substance-use crises

Supports expanding for people in mental-health, substance-use crises

People in a mental-health or substance-use crisis will have the support of experts as new mobile, integrated-response teams are coming to nine communities throughout the province.

To help people in crisis and to free up police resources to focus on crime, the Province is expanding Mobile Integrated Crisis Response (MICR) Teams (also known as Car programs) to Abbotsford, Port Coquitlam/Coquitlam, Burnaby, Chilliwack, Penticton, Vernon , Squamish, Prince Rupert and the Westshore.

“When people are in crisis because of mental-health challenges, we want them to meet with compassion and appropriate care,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “We are expanding crisis-response teams across the province to ensure that at their most vulnerable time, people in distress in our communities receive a health-focused response and connections to the services and supports them on their pathway to well-being.”

MICR Teams are specialized crisis-response teams that pair a police officer with a health-care professional to respond to mental-health calls made to the police. Teams provide on-site emotional and mental-health assessments, crisis intervention and referrals to appropriate services in the community. Built on partnerships between municipal police departments or local RCMP detachments and the regional health authorities, these teams help free up police resources to focus on crime.

“Our government is taking action on the biggest challenges we face to keep people and communities healthy and thriving,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “We have heard from many police departments and health authorities that currently run Mobile Integrated Crisis Response Teams that the programs are extremely helpful – and the demand is growing. Expanding the MICR Teams program will help connect more people in crisis with the appropriate supports and services they need.”

The MICR Teams are jointly supported by the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions and the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General. The Province has committed $3 million to help fund their implementation throughout British Columbia. With communities now selected, health authorities and local police will begin planning together to recruit staff and put services in place as quickly as possible.

Expanding MICR Teams is part of the Province’s Safer Communities Action Plan, and supports the plan’s goal of creating safe, healthy communities for everyone. Enhancing supports for people living with mental-health and addiction challenges is an integral part of A Pathway to Hope, BC’s roadmap for building a comprehensive system of mental-health and addiction care for British Columbians.

Quotes:

Maureen Levy, Assistant Commissioner, Lower Mainland District Commander, RCMP –

“Police are responding to an ever-increasing number of calls for service that have a nexus to mental-health-related concerns. This key partnership will enable us to work more collaboratively, effectively and side by side with our health-care professionals to directly support our vulnerable populations, who are facing a mental-health crisis. My motto is: ‘We are better when we work together, and everyone matters.’ ”

Dan Coulter, MLA for Chilliwack –

“Mobile Integrated Crisis Response Teams are a vital resource that will help many people in mental-health and substance-use crises. Not only that, but these teams will help connect people in crisis to the support they need to not only survive, but thrive.”

Tina Baker, registered psychiatric nurse, Car 67 program –

“These partnerships between nurses and police officers are so beneficial to clients during crises because we get to bring our specialized mental-health assessment skills and knowledge right to them. We can give 100% of our care and attention to our clients, knowing that the police are there to keep us and our clients safe. I am thrilled that more communities will soon have this program.”

Quick Facts:

  • In BC, one in five interactions with police involve someone with a mental-health disorder.
  • MICR Teams are operating in Kamloops, Kelowna, Prince George, Fort St. John, Richmond, Surrey, Vancouver, North Shore, Nanaimo and Victoria.

Learn More:

Learn about A Pathway to Hope, our government’s vision for mental-health and addictions care in BC: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021MMHA0049-001787

Learn about mental-health and substance-use supports in BC: https://wellbeing.gov.bc.ca

Learn more about how the Province is making communities safer for everyone:
https://strongerbc.gov.bc.ca/safer-communities