Mobile Crisis Service Launched in North Bay

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Nurses, Police and North East LHIN work in partnership to respond to community need

A Mobile Crisis Service is now in place in North Bay as a result of work efforts between the North East LHIN, the North Bay Regional Health Centre (NBRHC), and the North Bay Police Service (NBPS), guided by a community stakeholder steering committee. This service provides an opportunity to strengthen the crisis continuum within mental health services, enhance care coordination and transitions to improve the patient experience and as a result is making Mental Health and Addictions Services more accessible.

This summer, two mental health registered nurses from the NBRHC and nine police officers from the NBPS received specialized training to better serve persons in crisis with mental health and/or addiction issues. The Mobile Crisis Team consists of a registered nurse and a police officer working together. The NBPS and the NBRHC are committed to supporting this service which has been operating since mid-September.

“There is growing recognition that emergency response services as first responders cannot and should not operate alone on the fringe of the health care system, but rather need to be included as mainstream partners in the delivery of crisis services,” says Chief Paul Cook, North Bay Police Service. “Emergency response services naturally cut across many different systems, including social services, legal, health, community and personal safety because a crisis can occur at any time with anybody.”

“It is very important that we find ways to help people in crisis receive the support they need in the right place, from the right provider, the first time,” says Sandy Deschenes, Manager of Crisis Intervention at the North Bay Regional Health Centre. “Often when a person calls 911 in psychological or emotional distress, officers have limited options to helping and usually end up spending hours in an emergency department waiting with the person for care. Mobile Crisis Services are an effective and efficient approach to helping these people. Initiating contact and intervening earlier in a crisis prevents situations from escalating to the point where there are limited options. Having trained professionals respond who can help de-escalate a situation and get people connected to the right service in the community without having to always bring them to the Emergency Department is a win-win.”

“This partnership will bring people-centered care to those who are feeling overwhelmed and in crisis,” says Louise Paquette, CEO of the North East Local Health Integration Network (LHIN). “We have supported this model as a way to bring the right care to people, where they need it. A busy ED can be a difficult place to be if you’re in crisis. People with lived experience have told us they would much rather be treated in home or community.”

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North Bay, ON
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