A new joint initiative between the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region (RQHR) and Regina Police Service (RPS), officially launched today, will mean better, more immediate access to appropriate care and resources for Regina residents experiencing a mental health crisis.The Police and Crisis Team (PACT) is a partnership which pairs a full-time mental health professional with a police officer to provide a joint response to people experiencing a mental health crisis in the city.
RQHR’s contribution to PACT as a pilot project for the 2015-16 fiscal year was funded by the Ministry of Health as an immediate priority under the Emergency Department Waits and Patient Flow Initiative.
“Our government is committed to a patient-centred approach to health care and a citizen-centred approach to community protection,” said Health Minister Dustin Duncan. “The Police and Crisis Team is a coordinated effort to better address the needs of some of our most vulnerable people. This supports recommendations in our government’s inter-ministerial Mental Health and Addictions Action Plan, and the work of the health system’s Emergency Department Waits and Patient Flow Initiative.”
The Regina Police Service has long acknowledged the need for an enhanced response to persons who come into contact with the Justice system as the result of a mental health crisis. Often these individuals are also struggling with substance abuse and access to basic needs like safe shelter.
“We’re very pleased to launch this partnership with Regina police, and anticipate it will assist city residents in need of mental health, addictions, or homelessness assistance in accessing health and community resources in a streamlined, appropriate and comprehensive way,” said Michael Redenbach, RQHR Vice President Integrated Health Services.
“We believe the PACT approach will result in better outcomes for individuals and better use of our community’s police and health resources,” said Chief Troy Hagen of the Regina Police Service. “Our Service’s investment in PACT is already paying dividends. We believe future benefits will include a reduced number of arrests arising from a mental health crisis; a decrease in time and volume of avoidable emergency room visits; and increased, long-term stability for our PACT clients.”
“By identifying and prioritizing response to individuals in need, we anticipate many mental health clients in Regina will receive better, more immediate access to services appropriate to their needs, rather than experiencing repeated Emergency Department visits or repeated interventions with police,” Redenbach said.
The team has been working together since June with an initial focus on documentation, training and education, and became fully operational in early September. PACT is currently responding to potential clients identified through RPS dispatch five days per week, Monday to Friday, nine hours/day.
The team works closely with existing Mental Health and Addiction Services outreach teams, providing real-time response to real-time crisis. There are also opportunities for follow-up contacts with clients to ensure they continue to access the appropriate services identified and make progress in their journeys to mental wellness and productivity.
PACT will also continue to present to police, health and community audiences in order to improve awareness of this important “bridge” to mental wellness for all members of our community.