January 31, 2018

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For Immediate Release:

Guelph Police, CMHA WW seeing progress through continued IMPACT partnership

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 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.”

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.”

About the Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington

CMHA WW is Canada’s largest CMHA chapter and provides a full care system for those with addictions, mental health or developmental needs. CMHA WW serves everyone from children to adults to seniors, all under one roof. It is also the lead partner in Here 24/7, the single access point to the entire mental health, addictions and crisis sector in Waterloo Region and Wellington County.

About the Guelph Police Service

The Guelph Police Service is an innovative organization that has utilized many tools to improve service delivery. These tools include motorcycles (the first Canadian police service to do so), a joint emergency services building and more. The Guelph Police Service continues to form or improve on existing partnerships with various agencies to assist those who may be living with addictions and mental health related issues. The Guelph Police Service is proud of the fact that they are progressive in many ways and the Service continues to lead the way in ensuring that Guelph remains a safe and vibrant community for all those who call Guelph home.

About IMPACT

A joint venture with the Guelph Police Service and CMHA Waterloo Wellington, IMPACT (Integrated Mobile Police and Crisis Team) is dedicated to improving the quality of care for those in need. Funded by the Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integrated Network (WWLHIN), the team was formed with the goal of creating a system in which members of CMHA and Guelph Police could best jointly respond to public needs when there is a mental health aspect, addiction issue, or an individual in crisis.

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For further information or to arrange an interview, contact:

Martin Bauman, Communications Specialist

Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington

1-844-264-2993 Ext. 2106 (office) / 226-979-4578 (cell)

mbauman@cmhaww.ca


Cst. Chris Probst, Public Information Officer

Guelph Police Service

519-824-1212 Ext. 7342

cprobst@guelphpolice.ca